Visa delays Yamikani Chester’s America return
Flames winger Yamikani Chester is yet to join his new United States League Championship side, Las Vegas Lights FC, as he is waiting for visa renewal, raising fears that this might compromise his match-fitness.
Chester, a regular for the Flames who resume the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers next month, is missing out on pre-season games for Las Vegas and has been out of regular action for three months.
The player’s representative, James Woods-Nkhutabasa, yesterday said they applied for the visa renewal because the one he was using at North Carolina FC expired.
“He was under a season visa for North Carolina and that one expired. He has to renew the visa for this season as it is a loan. All is in order and should be departing soon. The season begins in March,” Woods-Nkhutabasa said.
Chester spent last season on loan at North Carolina where he scored six goals (including one in a cup match) in 22 appearances mostly as a substitute. However, his management team opted against extending the loan deal.
“North Carolina wanted him [to renew the loan deal] but Las Vegas offer was better for him in terms of his development and potential advancement to bigger clubs,” Woods-Nkhutabasa said.
The former Mighty Tigers skipper is a regular for the Flames under the stewardship of Meck Mwase but showed signs of rustiness in games against South Sudan and Uganda late last year as, by then, the season had ended in America.
Chester, speaking through his representative, said he was sticking to a healthy diet and keeping fit in readiness for his return to America.
“I have been training twice a day by myself and at times with a local football team close to my house. I also go to the gym and try to maintain a good diet to ensure that my body is in top condition. I will be joining the Malawi national football team training for local players. I am in excellent condition. All I need is game-time for match fitness,” he said.
Chester signed a three-year contract with MFK Vyskov last season but he has never played for the parent club.
Las Vegas coach, Eric Wynalda, told the club’s website that all was set for pre-season games today ahead of full season kick-off on March 7.
“Everything is starting to shape up now and we have been able to lock in on the players that we wanted for this season. We focused on a different set of criteria and I’m very pleased with the group that we have coming in,” Wynalda is quoted saying.
The pre-season training sessions will take place at Cashman Field and the Kellogg- Zaher Soccer Complex and will be open to the public.