Administrative issues continue to deny youngster's dream of travelling overseas to play football

South African kids playing football by the beach
Ganiyu Yusuf
Problems surrounding the aspiring footballer's passport continue to deprive him of realising his dream of playing football abroad

Teenager George Maskini is facing an uphill battle in order to realise his dream of travelling overseas to play football.

Maskini, 13, who was initially supposed to have been part of a team which travelled to Thailand to take part in a football tournament, only to be denied that opportunity despite his teacher having raised the money, due to the fact that he did not qualify for a South African passport.

Maskini is the offspring of parents who were born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and although on that occasion he did eventually receive help from the deputy minister of home affairs, he would still be unable to make the journey as it turned out that he had received what was just mere travel documents.

However, after subsequently missing out on the trip, the talented footballer was previously reported to have been given another opportunity to realise his dream this time Rasthoem Simons of Simsport Eagles, as he was offered a spot in a development team that were set to travel to Dubai.

But in what can only be described as a heart-breaking and frustrating turn of events, Maskini was again unable to join his teammates, despite his mother going the extra mile to see whether or not everything was in order with his papers.    

“I met the management who did the application originally and they told me that the passport is valid and that George is ready to travel,” Bampende Maskini told the Cape Argus.

Maskini’s mother also went as far as visiting the appropriate airlines offices to confirm that her child could indeed travel.

“They checked the visa in the system, the ticket, the copy of my ID, the unabridged birth certificate and the passport, and they said George is ready to travel,” his mother added.

Maskini was expected to depart this past Sunday, but it was only after he had said farewell to his family that he was stopped.

“My family and I were travelling on the N2 home because we left George at the airport when we got a call from the coach who told us we need to rush back as there’s a problem,” Maskini said.

They were told by immigration that the youngster’s passport had been cancelled and was declared lost and stolen.

“I thought this is impossible; how could this be? I never saw my child cry so much,” she said.

“I cannot tell you how I feel. This has really started affecting George; he can’t eat and he cries in his asleep,” Maskini said.

Earlier this week, George did eventually receive a valid passport, but is now required to apply for a new Dubai visa in order to travel, which would take another day or two.

Meanwhile, George expressed his disappointed for the way things had turned out.

“I feel very upset that this happened because I really wanted to play overseas and I haven’t been feeling very well since all of this happened. It really hurts me,” he said.

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Simons on the other hand also admitted disappointment but was hopeful that George would eventually realise his dream.

“It’s extremely disappointing that once again George had to be disappointed. Home Affairs should really have gone the extra mile to alleviate this current situation. We hope it gets resolved and George can join his teammates on tour,” Simons said.