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Leopards close den on Malawian target due to passport issue

Black Leopards have reportedly closed their den on potential Malawian trialist Christopher Kumwembe after he failed to travel to Limpopo by July 16 2022, as scheduled, due to the striker’s lack of a passport.

Kumwembe’s Lilongwe-based employers, Civil Service United, had pleaded with the Lidoda Duvha management to extend the window for the trials, but it appears now that opportunity is over.

The Daily Times newspaper of Malawi has now reported that Leopards have invited another striker from Zambia after Kumwembe took time to have his travel document processed in Lilongwe.

“Due to the delays of Christopher’s passport, as a club, we also went out to look for other possible solutions and we got a striker from Zambia who is on assessment as I am speaking to you. We have got only one foreign slot at this stage and we don’t want to have any complications,” reads a letter which the newspaper quoted purportedly from Leopards to Civil.

FARPost was not able to confirm the latest development with Leopards management.

However, Civil general secretary Ronald Chiwaula has confirmed that their last-ditch efforts to have the towering forward travel to South Africa has failed.

“We tried everything to secure his travel documents. But this is very unfortunate for the player and the club. It was an opportunity for the player,” Chiwaula said.

The striker, who is not capped, did not have a passport for him to travel to South Africa at the time he received the invitation for the trials.

To make matters worse, the Immigration Department in Malawi had then stopped printing passports due to what it called a technical problem, before resuming the issuance of the travel documents last week.

Leopards is home to another Malawian Rafick Namwera who joined from Mighty Wanderers last season as a free agent.

In a related development, Malawian defender Gomezgani Chirwa was sent back from OR Tambo International Airport earlier this month after losing his passport while checking in when trying to connect to Durban with Malawi squad to participate in the Cosafa Cup.

Leopards are looking to beef up their squad to mount a challenge for the Motsepe Foundation Championship title. They are currently assessing former Orlando Pirates attacking midfielder Augustine Mahlonoko.

Lidoda Duvha have made it clear they are holding onto their goal poacher Tiklas Thutlhwa. He scored 16 goals last season and won the First Division top goalscorer award. 

RELATED STORY: Leopards target grounded in Malawi

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