Five players from Italian club AS Roma will miss Saturday’s friendly match in Jakarta after they were refused entry to Indonesia and forced to fly home.
The Serie A team touched down in Jakarta on Friday evening for the first time in the club’s history but ran into trouble at customs, Roma chief executive Italo Zanzi said.
Seydou Doumbia, Gervinho, Victor Ibarbo, Adem Ljajic and Antonio Sanabria were denied entry for not possessing valid visas, an Indonesian immigration official told AFP.
The players were unable to obtain a visa on arrival because their passports were issued by countries which did not have such an arrangement with Indonesia, the official said.
Doumbia and Gervinho are from the Ivory Coast, Ibarbo is Colombian, Sanabria is from Paraguay and Ljajic comes from Serbia.
“The five players were obliged to have visas, but they didn’t have them,” said Heriyanto, the directorate general of immigration spokesman who like many Indonesians goes by one name.
Zanzi said it was “very frustrating” the footballers wouldn’t be able to join the rest of the squad for Saturday’s exhibition match between two teams of AS Roma players.
“It’s a real disappointment for us, given that we’ve made a substantial effort to be here,” he was quoted as saying on the club’s website.
“It’s not a positive thing for the players, for the club — who did everything that we were asked to do — but, most importantly, for the Indonesian fans because they are why we are here.”
Football is hugely popular in Indonesia and crowds of rowdy fans had gathered at the airport to catch a glimpse of the European stars on the final stop of AS Roma’s summer tour.
The 2014-15 Serie A runners-up had arrived from Melbourne where they took part in the three-team International Champions Cup with Real Madrid and Manchester City. – Agence France-Presse