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Costly hitch

Civil’s Christopher Kumwembe could miss South Africa trials

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Civil Service United striker Christopher Kumwembe is unlikely to travel to South Africa for two-week trials due to lack of proper travel documents, Times Sport can reveal.

The gangling forward has attracted interest from Glad Africa Championship side Black Leopards but cannot make the trip as he does not have a valid passport.

This means the striker will miss the trials as the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services has stopped issuing passports due to technical challenges.

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However, Civil General Secretary Ronald Chiwaula said the club has not given up on the matter.

“All things being equal, he should travel to South Africa on Friday [tomorrow]. We are working hard to ensure that we process all the traveling documents in time,” Chiwaula said.

Kumwembe described the situation as a setback.

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“This is a big setback to me. However, I have been told that the club will wait until the passport is out. The sad reality is that I do not know when it will be out,” he said.

Though still raw, Kumwembe can be polished into a good striker.

He is among the players who have scored four goals in the TNM Super League first round.

His final touch may, indeed, be a problem but he has great physical presence in the box.

Another factor that works to his advantage is the ability to dribble past defenders.

If successful, Kumwembe would join fellow countryman Rafiq Namwera, who had a grand debut season with Leopards.

The country’s passport situation resulted in Malawi National Football Team defender Gomezgani Chirwa missing the 2022 Cosafa Cup in Durban, South Africa.

Chirwa lost his passport at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and returned home.

Ordinarily, the passport would have been replaced but things did not work out as the Department of Immigration continues to struggle with issuance of the travel documents.

In a public notice issued last week, it stated that its passport issuance system is experiencing interruptions due to technical issues.

“With these technical glitches, the department is unable to process and print passports. The department wishes to assure the general public that the matter is receiving urgent attention and it will keep the public informed once all the technical issues are fully addressed,” the notice, dated July 8, reads.

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