Malawi national football team (Flames) captain Peter â€˜Mjojoâ€™ Mponda has denied applying for South African permanent residence permit.
The veteran national team defender also clarified that even if he had applied for permanent residence in South Africa, it would not have stopped him from playing for the Flames.
Mponda was reacting to Flames coach Kinnah Phiriâ€™s plea to reconsider his decision to attain South African permanent residence as it meant that he will not be able to play for the Flames.
“It is not true that I have applied for South African permanent residence permit.
“Yes, I qualify but I havenâ€™t done that yet and even if I did, it would not stop me from representing my country because permanent residence does not affect oneâ€™s citizenship,” said Mponda from Cape Town.
This is in contrast to a report carried by South African publication Soccer Laduma that Santos are working round the clock to attain Mpondaâ€™s permanent residence permit.
The clubâ€™s boss, Goolam Allie, is reported to have confirmed with the Soccer Laduma that they are busy processing the paperwork needed by the Department of Home Affairs in order to complete the application.
Allie explained that his wish was to see this happens immediately as there are some foreign players that they are keen on signing although he did not want to reveal any names.
Santosâ€™ chief operations officer Edries Burton, confirmed that they have already submitted papers to South African Home Affairs and hope that they will soon process them and the player will get his permanent residency.
And reacting to the development, Kinnah told an online media that: “My advice to Peter is that he should not bow down to his clubâ€™s demand because we need him most, his country needs him most. Peter is a patriotic boy and I have all the hopes that he will not attain South African permanent residence.”
Mponda has been in South Africa for more than five years now, having initially joined Black Leopards, before moving to Santos last year.
Retired former Flames captain Patrick Mabedi, who also obtained a permanent South African residence permit before he retired, said the development would not affect Mpondaâ€™s citizenship.
“It seems there is a misunderstanding on the issue of permanent residence. It does not affect oneâ€™s citizenship in any way. So, Kinnah should not be worried because even if Peter gets permanent residence permit, he will still be eligible to play for the national team.”
Gangling forward Russell Mwafulirwa has also applied for a South African permanent residence permit.