Footballer rescued after sleeping in airport for 74 days during coronavirus lockdown
SPORTS By Mirror | June 11th 2020
A Ghanaian footballer says he slept in an Indian airport for over two months after the country went into lockdown during the coronavirus crisis.
Randy Juan Muller, 23, was left trapped in Mumbai International Airport after air travel out of the country was shut down to help curb the spread of the deadly virus.
Randy had been in India since November 7 after he accepted a six-month contract to play football for a professional seven-a-side club in Kerala, southern India.
His plans to return home to Ghana on March 30 were dashed after the country went into full lockdown.
He arrived in Mumbai on March 21 but was low on funds and had nowhere to stay, reports CNN.
"I heard about the possibility of a lockdown in India ... so I came to Mumbai to stay in a dormitory so I wouldn't miss my flight," Muller said.
"I didn't know anyone [in Mumbai] so I saw some policemen and told them my story. They told me to go to the airport," said Randy.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown, leaving Randy with little choice but to sleep in the departures hall of the airport where he was due to fly out of.
Unfortunately for Randy, the lockdown period kept being extended meaning his unscheduled stay drew out for 74 days.
Muller called the Ghanaian Consulate in Mumbai but they offered little help.
"I never got worried because I knew one day I'd get home," he says.
Randy was finally rescued from the airport after a local journalist saw his pleas for help tagged the state's tourism and environment minister.
Minister Aaditya Thackeray then became involved in the situation and, within hours, offered to put him in a hotel where he is now staying until he can sort a flight home.
Randy broke down in tears when he was met at the airport by a representative of Minister Thackeray.
Randy has thanked the many people who helped him during his stay, including one kind security guard who replaced his mobile phone after it broke.
"People in the airport were very helpful. They gave me food and helped me a lot," Muller said.
"I tried to stay strong and motivated ...There are things in life you can never change. "
Despite his ordeal, Randy says he would happily return to India if the opportunity arose.
"I left home to feed home," he says. "If I got another contract, I would love to come back."
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