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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