Coronavirus: I am stranded in Nigeria, says Shanghai striker Ordega

By Monsurah Olatunji

Shanghai striker Francisca Ordega has revealed that she has no means of returning to her base in China after being left stranded in Nigeria following a strict lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Ordega scored seven goals to help Shanghai to finish as Chinese Women’s Super League runners-up last season, with 29 points – five behind champions Jiangsu Suning from 14 matches.

The Nigerian international was part of the Chinese outfit’s preseason tour in Portugal where they spend almost a month before departing back to their various base during the international break in March.

The ban on foreigners’ entry into China halts Ordega’s hopes of reuniting with her teammates following the international break and the Super Falcons star is frustrated by her inability to return to her club.

“I was on duty with my teammate outside Shanghai, the team manager told us (foreigners) not to go back to China with the team because of the coronavirus outbreak,” Ordega told SavidNews.com.

“He said to go back home until everything dies down. We never thought things will get out of hands. I headed back home to Nigeria but always get updated with the situation of things in China.

“While my countryman and brother Odion Ighalo was there, he would call to check on me and give me updates, he always calms me down so I don’t get scared.

“I was in America to renew my passport when I got the call from my team that things are getting better and we are to report back to China. I planned to fly from America to China but the authority banned movement to China.

“The only option is to enter through other countries that are yet to restrict movement to China. I booked a flight for Ethiopia and planned to go through Ethiopia.

“Surprisingly, the day I landed was the day their government laid an embargo on flights to China.
I headed back to Nigeria, called my club to let them know what’s going on.”

The 2018 African Women’s Player of the Year nominee is in her home country in Benue state after a forced break as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak as lockdown in China was relaxed in April after over 76 days.

With sporting activities and teams resuming training in the Asian country, the former Washington Spirit star is confident a vaccine will be found to stop the health crisis in her quest to rejoin her team.

“Last week, I got to know things are calm in China now, nearly all organizations are back to work, even my team is already honouring friendly matches and the league will likely return this month (May),” she continued.

“A major issue that needs to be resolved is what will happen with the players that are abroad as travel restrictions for foreigners have been established to mitigate the pandemic’s spread?

“I am stranded here in Nigeria with the restrictions on flights which is understandable because there are things more important than football and life is paramount to everything. I just pray the health experts to find a solution to this deadly virus, so that we can all have our normal life back.

“I have been training on my own to keep fit and be able to kick football again when everything is over.
I want to plead to everyone to adhere to all preventive measures laid by the health workers and government and together we shall overcome and gain our freedom again. Coronavirus is real. Please stay safe.”