The degenerating security situation in Mali is affecting the players and officials of Sunshine Stars of Akure who are trapped in a gun fight in Mali have spoken of a frightening situation as they remain hidden in their hotel.
The second batch of players and officials were supposed to leave Bamako on Tuesday but they cannot because of the fighting and it appears as though the cost of their prolonged stay has being shouldered by the Malian FA.
Sunshine Stars striker, Ukeyima Akombo, told the press in a telephone interview from his hotel room in Bamako, that they are scared by the sound of heavy machine gun fire.
“It has not been a funny situation. It is has been scary with heavy sounds of guns, but today (Wednesday) is better because the sound of the shooting is a bit far,” the prolific striker said. “I have never been in a situation like this before.
We are just staying in one place. We watch films until we get tired and gist at times. Our hotel is not being guarded but the soldiers are always on the streets where the hotel is,” he added.
Accompanying journalist, Shamsudeen Tunde, however, added that the situation is being monitored. “We are monitoring the events and as soon as the airport is open, we will depart for Nigeria but we are still waiting for the signal from our hosts.”
A first batch of players and officials left for Nigeria Monday afternoon without any incident only for the second and final batch to be trapped by the shootout between the military junta and armed rivals fighting for the control of the country.
Recent developments have indicated the government of Egypt has sent a military aircraft to Abidjan in neighbouring Cot d’voire to be on standby to fly the Al Ahly team home. The team is in the same situation as Sunshine Stars, having gone to Mali to honour a continental engagement.
There is no word from the Nigeria authorities, considering the fact that the situation has deteriorated. Some stakeholders have told LEADERSHIP SPORTS that they fear for the lives of the Sunshine players and officials and that the government has to look for a way of getting them back home safely.