Nigeria goalkeeper Francis Uzoho was left out of Anorthosis Famagusta’s squad against Nea Salamis on Saturday, after he was caught up in an investigation into a health certificate issued to him by the Cyprus Sports Organisation (KOA).
Uzoho, 20, joined the Cypriot giants on loan from Spanish side Deportivo La Coruna on deadline day, in search of top-flight football ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Then, barely 24 hours later, he made a winning debut against Apollon Limassol, but the losing club filed a protest citing irregularities in the mandatory health certificate handed to the Nigerian by KOA.
Apollon have questioned the “validity of the health card”, questioning how Famagusta were able to acquire the document in time.
Apollon claim in their statement that Uzoho arrived in Cyprus at 1605 on Friday 1 February and that the KOA department had already shut at 14.30 that same day.
Anorthosis, who are sixth in the Cypriot first division, wrote: “Due to the climate of recent days and to avoid further disruption and rumours, Francis Uzoho will not be involved in Saturday’s clash with Nea Salamis.”
The KOA confirmed in a statement that it has has taken ‘further steps to fully investigate the Francis Uzoho case’ and also added that ‘a police investigation is underway’.
Both Uzoho and his representatives have declined to comment on the situation.
Nigeria’s first-choice keeper moved to Cyprus after an injury-hit campaignand lack of regular football in Spain became a source of concern for Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr ahead of the tournament in Egypt.
Capped 12 times by Nigeria, he played all three matches as the Super Eagles exited the 2018 World Cup in the group stage.
In October 2017, Uzoho became the youngest foreign goalkeeper to ever play in La Liga and marked a memorable Deportivo La Coruna debut with a clean sheet.
Uzoho was part of the victorious Nigeria squad at the 2013 Under-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, albeit without playing a single minute at the tournament.
He only arrived at Deportivo from Qatar’s Aspire Academy in January 2017