Ugandan cricketers still AWOL

Last updated 20:15 07/02/2014

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Visas expired today for two Ugandan men who disappeared after playing cricket in this country.

Faruk Ochimi, 18, and Raymond Otim, 27, could not be found on January 30, the morning the Ugandan cricket team was due to fly home after taking part in an ICC World Cup qualifying tournament, the Uganda Cricket Association said.

Ugandan newspaper Sunday Monitor said the pair had sought asylum in Whakatane, where the Ugandan team stayed for part of its visit.

The pair were understood to have been "darlings of the elderly community of Whakatane", which offered to look after them as long as possible, the Monitor said.

Immigration NZ confirmed to SunLive both men’s visitor visas expired today. The men were obliged to leave NZ before the expiry of the visa or face deportation.

“Mr Ochimi and Mr Otim will be liable for deportation from tomorrow and INZ encourages them to leave the country as soon as possible voluntarily,” Immigration NZ said.

Uganda finished bottom in the tournament, losing all six matches heavily.

AAP reported that some media in Uganda blamed the poor performance on the lack of commitment by the two players and teammate Richard Okia, who disappeared in Dubai as the team returned home.

It was believed the two players missing in this country planned to travel to Australia and join two other players who disappeared from a Ugandan cricket team in 2007.

TV3 said the two missing cricketers were most recently seen in Ohope.

Whakatane Mayor Tony Bonne said he had no idea where the missing men were hiding out. Whakatane police said they had not been looking for the men.


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- © Fairfax NZ News

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