Former Malta international striker Kyrian Nwoko has accused the national team selectors over the ‘unfair’ treatment he suffered due to his stance of not taking the COVID-19 vaccine.
The former Valletta FC striker related what he went through and said that he was excluded from national team selection because of his refusal of taking the COVID-19 vaccine.
Nwoko’s comments relate to the events of last May when the national team players were asked to take the Johnson and Johnson vaccine ahead of their departure for a training camp in Austria.
The former Valletta striker accused the Malta FA of organising a PR stunt on the day the players received a vaccine with the presence of Health Minister Chris Fearne and top officials from the MFA and the government present.
In the build-up to the training camp, Malta national teams’ head coach Devis Mangia had made it clear that he was not ready to select Kyrian Nwoko in his squad for the training camp for his refusal to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
He said that he didn’t want to put any of the members of the national team and staff in any kind of risk and also said that players who represented the country were in his eyes role models who should set the right example.
“I never intended of sharing my experience with what has been going on as I’ve always thought I could manage it. Though seeing what a lot of people have been going through and the suffering they’ve endured during this tyranny has led me to open up about my own experience, with hope that people going through similar situations to find the courage and strength to stick to what they believe in,” Nwoko wrote on his facebook account.
“It was around May 2021, us, the players of the National Team had been training for weeks in preparation to go to Austria for an extended training camp and friendly matches. One day out of the blue the National Team coach told us that in three days time we were to be administered the J&J vax. Immediately after I informed the Team Manager that I wasn’t interested in taking anything.
“The next day just before training the National Team coach encircled us outside on the pitch to give the usual pre training speech. During which he said to everyone ‘You must take the vaccine or else you won’t be coming to Austria’.
“At that time no government in the world had yet taken such radical action, let alone a National Team. Again, I refused.
“The next day he called me for a personal meeting in his dressing room, again trying to persuade me. I was told that UEFA will be making it mandatory in September and that it was in my best interest to take it. To this day UEFA has taken no such action!
“Till that time it still hadn’t clicked why all the sudden rush, until the day we were to be given the jab. There were MFA representatives in suits, people from Government, not to mention the Health Minister and a whole media team. It was a PR stunt, to show the masses “look the national team players are doing it, so should you.”
“That was unfortunately the last time I represented the national team. It was one of my toughest periods in my life. Gladly, with a lot of support from loved ones, the decision I took that day has led me to where I am in life right now. Various players came up to me that day saying that they didn’t want to take it at that particular time but felt they had no choice.”
“This is the sad reality that many are facing!”