There is a twist of events surrounding the proposed citizenship application of Nyasa Big Bullets top striker Babatunde Adepoju with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services disclosing that there is no documentation to that effect.
Football Association of Malawi (Fam) has been making efforts to make Babatunde a Malawian so that he qualifies to play for the Malawi National Football Team.
Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services National Public Relations Officer Wellington Chiponde said his office has no document on the matter.
“We don’t have any application bearing that name at our office,” Chiponde said.
He said one qualifies for citizenship application in the country after being a resident of Malawi for five years.
“They must also have adequate knowledge of a prescribed vernacular language in Malawi or English. They must also be of good character.
“Once the process is approved, he or she must also pay $20,000. These are the requirements that make a foreigner become a Malawian. But we do not have any application from Babatunde for now,” Chiponde said.
Babatunde, who has also played for the defunct Masters Security FC and Might Mukuru Wanderers, confirmed that he was yet to make the application.
“I did not apply because this a process I can’t go through on my own. I need to be guided, he said.
Fam President Walter Nyamilandu Manda and General Secretary Alfred Gift Gunda first talked about processing Babatunde’s citizenship last year when the Flames were preparing for the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon.
At that time, the two indicated that they working on requirements for the process to be completed in time for the continental showpiece.
However, the move did not materialise and Babatunde missed Africa’s biggest soccer fiesta.
Nyamilandu revived the matter after the finals, saying the Flames were still in need of Babatunde’s services.
Of late, the Flames have been struggling to score goals with Gabadinho Mhango being the only striker to have scored at the Afcon finals.
This month, Malawi booted out of the Hollywoodbets Cosafa Cup in Durban, South Africa, in the preliminary round after finishing third with four points in Group B.
eSwatini were group winners with seven points.
Peter Fote is a Sports Journalist with huge experience in radio and Television reporting, production and presentation. He once worked with Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) and is currently working for Times Media Group.