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Breaking News: Stranded Sao Tome & Principe women's U17 team return home after FIFA intervention

Published on: 21 March 2020
Breaking News: Stranded Sao Tome & Principe women's U17 team return home after FIFA intervention
Sao Tome and Principe girls leaving the airport in Yaounde this afternoon

The U-17 women's national team of Sao Tome and Principe finally returned home on Saturday after FIFA intervened to provide a chartered aircraft, seven days after being stranded in Cameroon because of the air travel lockdown.

According the Cameroon Football Federation (Fecafoot), the world governing body FIFA worked around the clock with them to ensure the girls are happily reunited with their families.

Anxious parents cheerfully welcomed their daughters at the airport in Sao Tome on Saturday after being stranded in the Central African country as the coronavirus disease ravages the world.

FIFA worked directly with the Fecafoot President Seidou Mbombo Njoya to convince the Cameroon government to open the airspace to have the girls back home after a whole week.

The world governing body chartered the aircraft at their own expense after it became clear that the girls could not return to their country after playing in a FIFA U17 Women's World Cup qualifier.

The girls finally departed from Yaounde on Saturday afternoon and arrived home after just over one hour. They feared the worst when they could not travel out of Cameroon for one week.

Sao Tome and Principe girls arriving back home on Saturday
Sao Tome and Principe girls arriving back home on Saturday
Coach Aurieliano Mendes Semedo and his girls travelled to Cameroon for a near impossible task of overturning a 4-0 home defeat they suffered at the hands of Cameroon.

They travelled to Yaounde for the return leg last week Saturday when they were hammered 6-0 to make the aggregate score 10-0.

Their woes were compounded when their connecting flight in Malabo to their home country was cancelled following Equatorial Guinea government's decision to close its airspace because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Cameroon government also closed its airspace to also prevent the deadly disease from coming into their country and spreading to cause havoc to their citizens.

Fecafoot spent the past days working with FIFA to ensure that the girls would return home but ensured a comfortable stay while a solution was being found.

President Seidou Mbombo worked with FIFA and finally convinced the Cameroon government on Saturday to briefly open the airspace to allow the chartered aircraft to land.

The girls happily boarded the flight to make the short journey to their country and they were welcomed on Saturday by anxious parents who were grateful for the FIFA and Fecafoot support.

The girls will be monitored by health officials in Sao Tome and Principe to ensure that they are not carrying the coronavirus that has killed over 9000 people so far in the world.

Saoi Tome and Principe girls leaving Cameroon on Saturday
Saoi Tome and Principe girls leaving Cameroon on Saturday

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