Watford’s Al Bangura: A Quest for Education on the Matter

The 19-year old Sierra Leone midfielder arrived in the UK in 2005, bright-eyed at the prospect of being scouted by a soccer team, let alone one the size of Watford.

Now, almost three years later, and with a fiance as well as a son and a steady job, the British Asylum and Immigration Authorities have denied him asylum in the UK and have ordered Bangura back to Sierra Leone.

Nothing incenses Coach Aidy Boothroyd more.

“He came over as a 15-year-old boy, he escaped two civil wars and he got a lucky break in life as he was scouted by a football club,” explained Boothroyd to Sky Sports News. “After the immigration hearing I said I had a faith in the British justice but obviously I was totally mistaken as it is a completely ludicrous decision, this country great as it once was seems to allow anyone in for benefit as they fancy and we have one young man here who pays his taxes, has a fiancée, a new-born son and they expect him to go back to Sierra Leone – it is ridiculous. I can’t go into too much detail, but we have been sent a document for the reasons why and we are appealing – rather than these pen pushers someone higher up, perhaps Jacqui Smith the home secretary could look at it and make a decent decision rather than the one we have got. He is deeply disappointed. He thought his life had changed for the better and as I have said before, you put faith in the system and it comes back to haunt you. We are all disappointed and he is having to be consoled. We have ten days to appeal and we are working hard, and of course we are trying to go to Jacqui Smith but that is easier said than done but we hope common sense will prevail. He is a terrific young player, very talented and he will be a big, big player for us in the future – but this is more than football.”

That was picked from Sky Sports. Please – anyone with knowledge on this sort of thing – don’t these past three years of consistent work, a family, an organization requesting his permanent stay have anything to do with the decision for him to stay or go?

To make matters worse, if deported, his attempt to get back in to the UK will most likely take a hard hit as it’s pretty clear he won’t qualify for a work permit as he isn’t capped for Sierra Leone. The fact that he played 16 games in the Premiership last year could potentially speak for something, but it can’t be considered.

Even worse, apparently as of today, the appeal was rejected.

Reading Points

Guardian (UK)
Times Online (UK)
Skysports (UK)

Anyone want to take a stab at enlightening a guy who is oblivious to this whole process?

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Daily Sweeper, 12.10.07: Et tu, Osorio?

As of today, I’m planning on running the Daily Sweeper feature at the end of the day. The odds of this changing are very, very low. But it makes sense, right? I’ll be “sweeping up” all the news from a given day, so it only makes sense that I wait till the day is over. Right?

– I suppose Ives Galarcep provides the big story of the day with his Soccer by Ives exclusive that has the Chicago Fire’s 2007 head coach, Juan Carlos Osorio, moving East to coach Red Bull New York. I’ll throw out the ESPN write-up he did, but the exclusive he posted in his “special place” contains the largely same information, only more of it. And the final paragraph of the exclusive contains a significant teaser as well:

“So who will coach Chicago now? Very good question…Assistant coach Denis Hamlett is deserving of an opportunity, as are several other MLS assistants such as Richie Williams, Paul Mariner and John Spencer.”

I find every last one of those names enticing on one level or another. Should be fun seeing who gets the job.

Getting back to Osorio’s move to Red Bull – and my provocative title – there is something a little sleazy about the whole affair, isn’t there? I’m all for employment mobility, but to jump to a rival and on such short notice? I suppose the first thing I want to know is how Chicago fans are reacting (don’t have time to visit BigSoccer, or I’d just tell you). I’d check in on Chicago’s players next – and hope that Luis Arroyave will fill in some blanks fairly soon. I only know one thing for sure: I expect a duller New York side next season. More successful…mmm, probably. Just make sure to bring amphetamines to the games with you; the combination of Osorio’s tactics and beer should be approximtely equivalent to downing a half-dozen doses of Ambien.

– I would link to something about Mo Johnston killing rumors about his stepping away from the head coach’s role and into the Toronto FC front office, but, seeing as I don’t think it will change anything….whoops. In all seriousness, I may not rate Johnston too highly as a coach right now, but will also admit he’s had some damned tough jobs. Maybe next year, right?

– For his ESPN gig (does he have another one?), Jeff Carlisle threw out five names for U.S. National Team coach Bob Bradley to consider. I like ’em all except that darn Eddie Robinson…just kidding, Martek! He names some names I’d like to see, but, given our left-side injury issues, I’d include another one: Brad Davis.

Goal.com’s Kyle McCarthy compiled a Top Ten List for 2008’s biggest busts. Was there ever any question about #1?

– And, finally, WVHooligan does a brave thing and makes some early predictions for the 2008 season. Yeah, one of ’em went sideways already (see the first entry above), and I think he’s placing way too much faith in the New England Revolution’s operation, but the rest hold up to reason pretty well. That includes his ominous prediction for a Houston Dynamo three-peat. I know I keep coming up empty when I try to think who will beat ’em…maybe someone will sign the right ace. (As a side-note, just watch: now that I’ve ditched ’em, 2008 will be the year Bob Kraft finally reaches the end of his stingy, little rope and goes big to build the team. Just watch.)