CYPRUS: Two people arrested in Uzoho health card mess

Cyprus police on Tuesday arrested two people in connection with the alleged falsification of a health certificate issued to Nigeria’s World Cup goalkeeper loaned to Cypriot club Anorthosis Famagusta from Spain’s Deportivo La Coruna.

Police said a 41-year-old man and a woman, 36, were arrested in connection with the case on suspicion of obstructing the course of justice and conspiracy to commit a crime.

Nigeria international Francis Uzoho, 20, has found himself caught up in a police probe involving the falsifying of a medical certificate � that makes him eligible to play football in Cyprus – when joining Anorthosis.

It is alleged the health certificate was issued while the player was on board a flight to Cyprus in order to facilitate his loan move to Anorthosis.

The case unravelled just 24 hours after joining the Cypriot team and playing a leading role in the 1-0 victory over title contenders Apollon Limassol on February 2.

Defeated Apollon filed a protest citing irregularities in the mandatory health certificate issued for the Nigerian by the Cyprus Sports Organisation (KOA).

Apollon stated in their appeal that while Uzoho arrived in Cyprus at 16.05 on Friday 1 February, KOA’s department dealing with such issues had already shut at 14.30 that same day.

Apollon questioned the validity of the health certificate, wondering how Anorthosis were able to acquire the document in time.

Following the player’s testimony and a police investigation, Anorthosis acting president Kyriakos Yiangou, a known cardiologist, was arrested to facilitate the investigation on Saturday and detained in custody.

Yiangou was released from police custody on Tuesday without charge.

Anorthosis, fifth in the Cypriot first division, face losing 9 points (their win against Apollon could be annulled plus a 6-point deduction).

Uzoho has had his suspect health card revoked and cannot play until he is issued a new one, his club says the certificate was obtained legally and is valid.

Uzoho, remembered for an excellent World Cup, joined the Cypriot team on loan from Deportivo on transfer deadline day. He wanted top-flight football ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

Nigeria’s first-choice keeper moved to Cyprus after an injury-hit campaign and lack of regular football in Spain ahead of the tournament in Egypt.

Capped 12 times by Nigeria, he played all three group-stage matches before the ‘Super Eagles’ exited the World Cup in Russia.

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.

Source: The Financial Mirror