Nnaji advises ministry on visas for Nigerian stars
National women basketball coach, Scott Nnaji, has called on the sports ministry to find a way of getting foreign missions, whose countries are hosting international competitions, to stop denying Nigerian sportsmen the opportunity of attending such events.
Recently, the Spanish embassy in the country refused to issue entry visas to the national women U-17 basketball team, which was billed to feature in a world championship hosted by Spain.
Nnaji said the situation was capable of stalling sports development in the country if urgent steps were not taken by relevant authorities to stop the ugly trend.
While lamenting the inability of the national U-17 team to participate in the cadet championship in Spain, Nnaji advised the sports ministry to impress on the foreign missions the need top grant automatic visas to Nigerian teams or athletes, who qualify to participate in international tournaments.
According to Nnaji, sending the names of the participants to host countries’ embassies and immigration services will help curtail the visa hitches faced by Nigerian sports personalities.
The Customs of Lagos Basketball Club coach also advised the sports ministry to release funds early so that teams will get quality preparation before major championships.
“I think the sports ministry should intervene in this issue by discussing with this foreign missions to allow our athletes travel without visas. In this regard, the names of the athletes or the team, who have already qualified to participate in the championship and satisfied every procedure required by the host country, should be sent to the embassies abroad.
“That way, the Nigerian missions would have time to liaise with the host country’s home department so that the athletes will get entry visas on arrival,” he said.