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Hackney Rugby Club in battle to stop star player being deported to Nigeria

PUBLISHED: 16:56 26 January 2011

Uzo Uyanwine (centre with ball) faces deportation to Nigeria

Uzo Uyanwine (centre with ball) faces deportation to Nigeria

Archant

HACKNEY Rugby Club has rallied around its star player, raising hundreds of pounds for a solicitor after he was threatened with deportation.

Within just 48 hours of finding out Uzo Uyanwine, originally from Nigeria, had been detained by the Home Office, the club had raised a staggering £1,600 to fight his legal battle.

In an incredible display of community spirit, club members also sent more than 50 letters to local MPs urging them to join their campaign to keep the popular and talented rugby player in London.

Market researcher Uzo, 27, from Leyton, has lived in the UK for the past eight years after initially coming over on a student visa. Since then he has had an ongoing case with the Home Office and earlier this month was placed in detention at Gatwick Airport with a flight booked back to Nigeria.

The former London Metropolitan University student was in detention for ten days before a solicitor was able to appeal the decision and stop him being forced on to a plane to Africa.

But 1st team captain Charlie Davis warned: “There’s still a battle ahead.

“It would be a travesty of justice if he was deported.”

He added: “The response from the club has been amazing.

“Uzo’s a very popular guy. He’s a lovely bloke, a good player and extremely loyal.”

Dedicated Uzo was quick to return the favour, playing with the Hackney 2nd Gargoyles the Saturday after being released from detention and scoring two tries. He now has ten tries under his belt this year, the highest number at the club.


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