Friday, September 18, 2009

Fears as Uganda players abscond

The disappearance of seven Ugandan cricketers in Canada may make it more difficult for athletes to get visas, a Ugandan cricket official says.

Latimer Mukasa told the BBC it would have "far-reaching consequences". The players disappeared from their hotel last week, two days before they were due to return home. Canada refused to grant visas for the Sierra Leone team to play in the under-19 qualifying tournament for next year's World Cup in New Zealand. Uganda failed to qualify.

The seven left their passports in the team hotel in Toronto but Canada's National Post newspaper reports they had six-month visas and so have not committed any crime. It says that police are not looking for them. "This kind of incident will have far-reaching implications for sportsmen getting visas to go and play in outside countries," Mr Mukasa, the Uganda Cricket Association spokesman, said. He also said he was worried for their safety as they are "young and cannot look after themselves".

Two years ago, two Ugandan cricketers went missing after playing a tournament in Australia.

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