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Dons trying to sign asylum seeker

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Home Office red tape could prevent the Dons helping a young asylum seeker start a new life in Scotland.


Congo-born striker Christian Kisuka, 15, is earning rave reviews playing for Aberdeen's Under-17 side.


The Dons want to take the Glasgow-based youngster on full-time when he turns 16 next year.




But their plans could be scuppered because the Home Office has so far taken five years to issue a passport to the youngster, who fled war-torn Congo with his mother thinking his father had been murdered.


Christian needs a passport because the Dons would find it almost impossible to gain a work permit for the youngster when he turns 16 in March.


The Dons have now taken legal advice in their bid to get clearance for Christian, a pupil at Shawlands Academy in Glasgow.


Dons head of youth development Lenny Taylor said: "It will be difficult to sign Christian if he doesn't have a passport.


"It's frustrating because he is a tremendous prospect."


Christian and younger sister Hanlene, 5, moved to Glasgow with their mother, Yvette to escape the on-going conflict in Democratic Republic of Congo.


They thought his father, Manzanpi, was one of the estimated 60,000 civilians killed in the ethnic conflict in the African country.


It was only 18 months ago that the family discovered Manzanpi, an agricultural engineer, is alive and had escaped to Paris.


He was refused entry to Britain at Dover just two weeks ago.


Glasgow-based Dons youth coach Peter Weir said: "Christian is a wonderful lad when you consider what his family have gone through."


Christian's mother, who speaks only basic English, has no intention of taking her family back to the Congo. She hopes gaining British nationality will help her husband gain entry to Scotland and give Christian a better chance of having a career as a professional player.


But she's constantly hit a brick wall with attempts to get British passports for herself and her children.


That meant the Dons were unable to take Christian to youth tournaments in Holland and Ireland.


Glasgow-based solicitors Hamilton Burns have now approached the Home Office on behalf of the club to see if there is any way of speeding up the process.


Lenny said: "We've been told families who seek asylum in this country get passports if it will help further the education of their children.


"We are arguing that failing to issue a passport to Christian is a breach of his basic human rights.


"Going with us to tournaments abroad and signing full-time would further his education as a footballer.


"The boy is doing all he can to start a new life in Scotland and eventually become a wage earner."


When we contacted the Home Office's Borders and Immigration Department, who issue passports and travel documents to asylum seekers, a spokeswoman said they do not comment on individual cases.


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