Rescue hopes rise for Sunshine Stars as commercial flights resume in Mali

The stranded Akure side may come back from Bamako today after normalcy returned to the country and the airport is reopened following intense military activities

Stranded players and officials of Sunshine Stars of Akure, who could not leave Bamako because of fighting between rebel groups and the military in Bamako, Mali, may return home today as commercial flights have resumed. learnt that it was announced yesterday in Bamako that commercial flights will resume on Friday morning.

The stranded six players and two officials of Sunshine Stars and two journalists have been asked to report at the airport in Bamako on Friday morning to ascertain whether they can leave the Malian capital with the early flights.

Executive director of Ondo State Football Agency, Segun Adagunodo told from Bamako that the players are happy they might get back to Lagos today.

"We are heading for the airport this morning as commercial flights will start working from today. When we get to the airport, we will find out whether we can get seats in the flight that leaves for 10.45,” said Adagunodo.

"The Egyptian side, Al Ahly left yesterday because their government’s plane came to pick them. 

"And if we get seats on the flight, we will fly straight to Cotonou and then come into Lagos by road.

"This is great news for us because the players are not happy and are afraid that something wrong might happen to them.“

Goalkeeper Segun Oluwaniyi’s Columbus Hotel room was searched by soldiers in the early hours of Thursday as the military went around looking for rebels.

"But we are praying that we can get seats on the flight. If we do, then this harrowing experience will stop.

"I want to thank every agency including the Ondo State Government for showing concern to what we have faced these past five days," Adagunodo said.

Sunshine Stars played a 1-1 draw in the Caf Champions League game against Djoliba in Bamako last weekend.