Arsenal midfielder Kelechi Nwakali has been stuck in Nigeria for a month, unable to return to his loan club in Portugal, ever since he featured for the Nigeria u23s in March.
For those who haven’t been following, Nwakali has been on loan with Porto this season, making 16 appearances for their B team so far. He’d shown some good form recently, earning a call-up for the Nigeria u23s over the international break. He featured twice, assisting one goal and helping his team score another from a rebound after his free-kick.
Unfortunately, the Arsenal man then found himself unable to return to Portugal. He only had a single-entry visa into the country in the first place, so he had to renew it to reenter after international duty. That process has taken much longer than expected, and Nwakali has already missed four matches as a result.
The director of communications at the NFF, Ademola Olajire, told BBC Sport that they hope to finally solve the problem over this Easter break.
It’s another frustrating setback for Nwakali, who has only had to go abroad on all these loans because he can’t secure a work permit in England. Having his loan game time limited by a technicality will presumably limit his options for another loan next season, which will, in turn, hurt his chances of national call-ups and securing the right to play for Arsenal.
Let’s hope the situation is resolved quickly and Nwakali can squeeze a few more games in before the end of the season, at least.