A still from a video shows the Ghanaian football player Randy Juan Muller stranded at Mumbai airport.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Remember the 2004 film "The Terminal" of Steven Spielberg, starring Tom Hanks? It was about a man stranded in a US airport after being denied entry to the country and who could not return to his nation because of a military coup.
Well, if you haven’t, let us remind you by telling you a real-life story.
A similar scenario seemed to have been played out in the case of 23-year-old Ghanaian football player
Randy Juan Muller, 23 – minus the coup of course.
Muller had to stay at Mumbai airport for 74 days from March 21 to June 3, after international flights were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
His plight ended when Maharashtra Minister and Yuva Sena President Aaditya Thackeray intervened and moved him to a hotel.
Later, the Ghana Embassy ensured his wellbeing.
Muller said, “They have promised to put me on the first flight home. Home is closer now...”
Muller, who previously played in Abu Dhabi, said: “I came to India with a 6-month visa to play in Kerala. I did not play any game after spending £1,567 on visa and tickets.
“I decided to return to my country and brought a ticket from Mumbai to Ghana transiting through Kenya, but all flights were cancelled and I had to stay at the airport.”
The police informed the player that he should go to the airport, because he was struggling to find a hotel to stay.
Muller explained in his diaries in Terminal 2: “I was inspired by what Tom Hanks did in the movie and ignored everything else. I got up in the morning and took a shower and walked around the airport.
“The cleaners and airport workers provided me with samosas, and the security personnel gave me a book entitled “Be Doctor Yourself” to help me overcome the depression, and some money to buy food.
“When the weather got cold, they give me blankets and a pillow to sleep as I like around the airport, and every day I watched rescue planes taking off and asked myself: when will I board the plane?
The security personnel also gave me a mobile phone as mine was damaged.
“I spent most of the time talking to my family over the phone.”
Muller was taken to a hotel on the directives of Aaditya Thackeray. The player later went to the Ghanaian consulate, which promised him that he would be put on a plane as soon as possible.
Despite his bitter experiences Muller plans to return to play in Kerala.
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