Flames gem, Gerald Phiri Jnr, has applied for South Africa permanent residence permit, hence he will feature for Bidvest Wits as the Rainbow Nation’s citizen, it has emerged.
Phiri, has despite acquiring his work permit, been ineligible to feature for Wits as he is still waiting for the residence permit.
The versatile midfielder’s South Africa-based management firm, Siyavuma Sports Group, revealed that Phiri’s father has roots in South Africa.
“Wits are making him local, not foreign. His dad is from South Africa. It won’t affect Malawi. You can have an SA ID and still play for Malawi. It is not dual citizenship. Simply an SA ID,” the agency said.
Malawi laws do not entertain dual citizenship, but most activists are lobbying for a change to allow Malawian athletes holding other citizenships in Diaspora to feature for Malawi sports teams.
“[It is] just the same as Robert Ng’ambi getting a local ID after five years [in South Africa]. [Its] just that Gerald does not have to wait [for] five years. He has his work permit, but they need five spaces [foreign quota], so they will register him [as a] local,” Siyavuma added.
Ng’ambi and other compatriots such as Harry Nyirenda and Atusaye Nyondo also are registered as locals in South Africa having stayed there for over five years.
Gerald Phiri Snr, who coaches Azam Tigers, has for over two months been elusive to comment on his son’s status.
South Africa media confirm that Wits are registering Phiri as a local. Wits signed the 23-year-old from Zimbabwe’s Caps United.
“Phiri is expected to take up permanent residence as his father is South African,” reported Kick-Off magazine edition of July 10, 2015.
PSL media and broadcast relations manager, Lux September, yesterday insisted that his office was not aware of Phiri’s registration as a South African.
South Africa Football Association media office had, as we went to press, not responded to a questionnaire. The midfielder scored in 2-2 draw in Swaziland last month.
Phiri has taken the Flames by storm after scoring a goal in seven competitive games, and three in all nine matches. Wits spotted Phiri Jnr during 2015 Cosafa Cup in South Africa in May when he won a man-of-match award.
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