Players not hiding’

THE eight Zimbabwean footballers who “disappeared” in the UK last week have not violated any UK laws and are not in hiding, according to a spokesman.


The players

were in the UK to take part in an exhibition match. Six Caps players and two from Highlanders were reported missing just before their flight home.


They were due to leave after the match but spokesman Ezra Sibanda said they chose to be economic refugees. Sibanda, who was media spokesman for the organisers of the match, said they were planning to “regularise” their stay in the UK.


He said: “These are talented young men who were seeing their future falling apart playing professional football for the equivalent of £20 per month in a country where a loaf of bread now costs $30 000 (65p).


“They, like any other so-called asylum seekers, are actually economic refugees who just want to take care of their families. Obviously they will try to regularise their stay here, but there was no cause for the press to treat them like criminals.”


A Home Office spokesman was quoted saying that officials were looking for them, but Sibanda said this was only because the official was responding to a question which implied that they had violated their stay in the UK. – BBC Sport.