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Yellow Card

By Tony Ubani

Even before the first ball was kicked in the World Cup, many fans especially Nigerians had been flashed the yellow card. The South Africans have done everything to be friendly for the sake of the world cup not with their immigration officials.

At the port of entry, Oliver Thambo International Airport, a masterpiece of architectural design, the smiles of immigration officials disappear once you cannot produce your yellow card, the international certificate of vaccination.

You are immediately separated from the good ones like men from boys. A pariah is created and you are directed to the Medical centre where questions are asked on why you did not bring it or did not take the vaccine.

It does not end like that. You are vaccinated and MUST part with a $90 fee. It’s not as easy as you read. Precious time is wasted and many victims have been caught. After the vaccination, then, comes your misery.

A friend who was vaccinated is yet to come to terms with hissleeping habit. He has lost precious man hour sleeping. Initially we thought he was bitten by Tsetsefly until he compared notes with another person who was vaccinated.

Even the high and the mighty from Nigeria are not exempted from this.  I learnt that a bigwig of the PDP went through the medical centre for the same offence.  In most cases, some Nigerians who patronized the touts at Murtala Muhammed Airport hawking the yellow cards discover late that some of those yellow cards are not indeed yellow.

The Immigration officials here would yell at you if you argue that it is authentic. But for law-abiding ones like us, they welcome you with smiles and go out of the way to even get cabs for you and even hotels.  That is the beginning of your World Cup misery if you are not prepared. Fully loaded like Government officials on estacode.


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