7 Feb 2014

Ugandan cricket players AWOL in NZ

1:56 pm on 7 February 2014

Immigration New Zealand has said nothing will be done about two Ugandan cricketers who disappeared last month, until after their visas expire.

The Uganda Cricket Assocation said Faruk Ochimi, 18, and Raymond Otim, 27, vanished on 30 January - the morning the team was due to check out of its hotel in Tauranga and leave the country.

They have not been in contact with the association or their families and their visas are due to run out on 7 February.

Immigration New Zealand said no action will be taken over the case until Saturday.

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.

Association chief executive Justine Ligyalingi said their actions brought shame on the country and the cricket team.

In 2009, seven of the under-19 Uganda side at the World Cup qualifiers disappeared in Canada where they had gone to play.

While the families of the men say they do not know where they are, Mr Ligyalingi said he is somewhat sceptical given that the same thing has happened in Canada and Australia on past tours.