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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 January 2008, 15:39 GMT
Bangura wins appeal to stay in UK
Alhassan Bangura
Bangura is hopeful of resuming his footballing career with Watford
Watford midfielder Al Bangura has revealed his relief at winning his appeal to stay in Britain after being awarded a work permit on Monday.

"It's not the end of my career if I went back," he told a press conference on Tuesday. "It's the end of my life."

"It's going to make a big difference to my life. And, of course, I can concentrate more on my football now."

Bangura, 19, was set to be deported back to Sierra Leone in December but has now been granted a work permit.

"We're very happy, but most of all we are delighted for Al and his family," said Watford chairman Graham Simpson.

"We always knew we had a strong case and despite our setbacks we knew we had to fight for what we believed to be right for this young man.


"Al will now continue to contribute to our society, which I know he feels a debt of gratitude towards.

"I would like to personally thank all the Watford fans who's backing of Al has been so crucial to moving this forward and securing his immediate future in the United Kingdom."

Watford's December meeting with Home Office minister Liam Byrne gave the club the option of applying for a work permit.

And after meeting in Sheffield on Monday, a six-strong Government panel decided Bangura's footballing credentials warranted his extended stay.

Bangura made his first-team debut aged 17 and went on to play 16 games in the Premier League last season.

He feared his life would be in danger in the West African country because of his father's links to a secret society, leading him to flee when he was 15.

Refugees from Sierra Leone, which is still recovering from a brutal civil war, are not automatically eligible for asylum in Britain, so each case must be individually proved.

But Bangura's extraordinary case and support from the football community proved strong enough to convince the hearing.

Bangura's legal team will now continue with the case to regularise his status, so he is able to remain in Britain beyond the period that his work permit will be valid for.

The player has yet to feature in the Championship for Watford this season and is still recovering from numerous injuries.

Country profile: Sierra Leone
18 Sep 07 |  Country profiles
Bangura pens new Watford deal
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20 Jul 06 |  Watford
Bangoura looks to football future
05 Apr 06 |  Africa Cup of Nations


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