Zimbabwean player wants to be evacuated from Libya

Libyan-based Zimbabwean player Cuthbert Malajila has sent a desperate signal that his life is now in danger in Libya, and said he was desperate to fly back home and reunite with his family.\r\n

The Zimbabwe international forward has been stuck in his flat, in the Libyan town of al Bayda, some 800km outside the capital Tripoli, as mass demonstrations continue to cripple Libya.

Malajila is on a six-month loan deal with Libyan side Al-Akdhar from Tunisian giants Club African.

The striker has been holed up in his apartment for the past week while the team’s coach and his teammate have already fled to Tunisia.

Thousands of foreigners have been pouring out of Libya to try and escape the political violence.

A day after his manager Gibson Mahachi assured the nation that the striker was safe, Malajila said the situation had deteriorated rapidly and he was now really scared.

Speaking to  our correspondent from al Bayda, the hard-running forward said the only thing on his mind right now was how to find a way out of Libya and fly back home.

Malajila said football, or the pursuit of his profession, lost its place in his heart this week as gunfire rang in his neighbourhood.

"Things are not well here. Right now it is has become serious and I just don’t know what to do," said Malajila.

"I have been indoors for the past five days. I am spending time sleeping. Yes, I have food, but honestly how can you eat with gunshots ringing outside?

"I don’t really know what is really happening outside but all I know is that there is violence. I don’t even know the extent of the protests in this town because I cannot go out and there is no one to tell you anything.

"Usually this is a small and quiet town. But now all you can hear are gunshots."

The former Chapungu, Dynamos and Highlanders hitman said although some of his club officials have been in touch, assuring him that he will be safe, he was now too concerned to rely on such assurances.

"The club officials have just been phoning me and comforting me saying after two days things will be fine," said Malajila.

"But I don’t really know what to do. Days have passed and the situation seems to be getting worse.

"I am just praying, sleeping and hoping things will be fine. The sounds of gunshots have really shaken me. It is just too much for me.

"I have never experienced something like this before. When the local airport here is opened, I will be among the first people to leave and come back home."

Malajila said he was living a nightmare and he was left shaken when his coach and a teammate fled to Tunisia by road when violence broke out.

"I have had enough. I never expected such a thing would happen to me in my entire life. Some of the coaching staff and one player, who is from Tunisia and was my neighbour at this block of flats, has since left by road.

"But for us it was risky and we couldn’t try to just go outside or join them.

"I’m all alone in this with a few phone calls from home here and there when the phone network is working because at times it will be down and there is no connection," said Malajila.

The striker said their break had just ended and the club had resumed its training sessions when all hell broke loose.

"It was on Wednesday when we had just finished playing a friendly match against El Merreikh when the protests started.

"At first we thought it was something that would come to pass, but the situation has worsened.

"The phone network had collapsed and only started working again on Tuesday night but still it is very bad. I cannot make phone calls but can only send text messages while I can only receive phone calls, which is a nightmare.

"All I can do for now is to wait and see," said Malajila.

Malajila joined Tunisian side Club Africain in August last year from Dynamos before moving to Libya.

He is on a three-year deal in Tunisia.