Cameroon international Gaël Nesterovich Bella Ondoua will add to the long list of players coach Rene Weiler of FC Servette must do without this Wednesday when they face Scottish giants Glasgow Rangers in the second preliminary rounds of the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League.
Ondoua will join eight injured and suspended players to watch the first-leg game from afar after UK immigration authorities denied him entry Visa to Scotland for being Russian despite his club’s efforts in the past two weeks.
The 27-year-old who made news late last year for playing for the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon at the FIFA World Cup with boots that had the Russian flag amidst Russia’s ongoing war with Ukraine is back in the newsstands due to another controversial issue.
Ondoua was hoping to help Servette continue their brilliant run in this round of the competition though he was unavailable in the previous round when they knocked out Belgium’s Genk against all odds, playing 85 minutes with ten men.
“His visa has not yet been issued by the British authorities, the player is absent from the trip to Glasgow. The significant efforts made for more than two weeks by the club and its player, also in collaboration with the Scottish Football Association, have not been enough.
“The club deplores this situation and supports its player and his team, which will have to deal without a major player in its workforce for non-sporting reasons,” a statement from the Club’s administration read.
Reacting to the situation in a pre-match conference on Tuesday, coach Rene Weiler opted to decry the situation without providing complete details of why this has happened.
“It’s clear these players are important for us but I don’t want to spend much time talking about players who can’t play. I want to focus on the players who are capable of playing,” Rene Weiler before adding he counts on those available.
“I’m always confident in my team’s ability. Genk was a real achievement after going down to 10 men but it’s in the past and I don’t want to focus too much on that.”
The midfielder who was born in Yaounde- Cameroon but grew up in Russia has featured in 24 minutes of his club’s Champions League commitments this season. Unfortunately, he will join injured first choice goalkeeper Jeremy Frick, right backs Keigo Tsunemoto and Theo Magnin, Miroslav Stevanovic, Alexis Antunes and summer signing Alexander Lyng while striker Enzo Crivelli is suspended after seeing red against Genk.
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