May
07
2008
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Asylum For Al Bangura

Twenty-year-old Watford midfielder Al Bangura has become a firm crowd favourite since joining the club on the outskirts of London three years ago, but they recently came close to losing him … not, as you might expect, to another club, but rather to the threat of deportation because Bangura did not have the correct work permit to stay in England. Bangura had fled to England from his war-torn homeland of Sierra Leone at the age of 15 and had been granted discretionary leave to stay in the country, only to finally see his request for asylum denied.
Then, a few months ago, Bangura – who now has a British girlfriend and recently also became a father -was informed that his deportation was imminent. That acted as a call to arms for music legend and former Watford chairman Sir Elton John, local politicians, player unions and even fans of other clubs to create an online petition and campaign for Bangura to be allowed to stay in the UK. Their efforts ultimately paid off because the decision was overturned in January and Bangura can now settle down in England. It was the most significant victory yet for the humble African.