Tehran Times - Ayanda Patosi, the South African midfielder of Foolad Khuzestan, has been for more than four months in his country and still could not return to Iran because of the Covid-19 crisis and the flight restrictions.
In an exclusive interview with Tehran Times, Patosi has explained his latest situation.
Q: Ayanda, how is the situation in South Africa regarding the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic?
A: I’m in Cape Town right now because of the coronavirus crisis. Actually, it’s been very hard in South Africa because the country went lockdown and some social activities are not open yet and forced to shut down. Now, we are in Level Three of the plan to control the virus. In Level Three they have opened some shops and some jobs have started working again.
Q: Why you couldn’t return to Iran?
A: The flight restrictions still remain. It’s very difficult to get a flight to other countries including Iran. Me and Foolad club’s office have been working very hard to get the flight as soon as possible. I’m in touch every day with my agent and also with Mr. Saeid Azari, the general manager of the Foolad Club, and we are doing our best to get the flight and to return to Iran at the earliest possible time.
Q: You have been away from Iran for more than three months now.
A: Yes, it’s been very hard for me. I miss the club, I miss the team, I miss the players and playing around with them.
Q: Let’s talk about what you have done during the lockdown.
A: throughout the lockdown, I’ve managed to train alone in my own backyard. It’s hard but that is something I can do in this situation. I spent time with my family. Most of the time I’m outside the country but I’ve been in Cape Town for too long now. I’ve never been in Cape Town for a long period if I’m not playing football in South Africa!
Q: About Foolad game against Esteghlal (which Foolad won 2-1), there were some rumors that Patosi himself didn't want to be in this match to play against his ex-team Esteghlal!!
A: No, It’s not true. I wanted to be in that game because Esteghlal are my ex-team and I really liked to play against them, against my former teammates. It could be a nice and interesting game for me. I would really love to be in that game but because of the Covid-19 situation in my country, I couldn’t get the flight on time for that match.
Q: Anything else you want to say?
A: To all Foolad fans: Thank you very much guys for your support. I’ve received so many messages on my Instagram. I really can’t wait to come back to Ahwaz. I really appreciate your support. I know it’s very difficult to stay at home to watch Foolad games but your health comes first guys. Thank you very much and stay safe!