Chipola player awaits visa renewal in Nigeria

MARIANNA, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - When the Chipola Lady Indians tip off the Panhandle Conference schedule Tuesday night at Tallahassee, they'll be playing without one of its sophomore leaders.

Nana Sule returned home to Nigeria during the holiday break to renew her visa, but has yet to return. The renewal process is taking far longer than expected, putting Sule, the school, and coach Greg Franklin's team in a stressful situation.

"Right now, they're saying it's an average of 60 days for those kids to get through and get their visas or renew their visas because it's just a situation right now where there's an overload," Franklin said. "I think with travel things going on right now throughout the international circuit, it's really tough for those kids to get back over here."

Chipola coaches and players are keeping in contact with Sule while carrying on business as usual on the court. However, the forward's absence from campus creates challenges beyond basketball.

"We actually need her back here to school," Franklin added. "She's a young lady that is an excellent student athlete. She has a 3.98 GPA. The only thing she's ever had a complication with is going home right now. She could benefit that country and herself and this school by being able to get back here."

Franklin tells NewsChannel 7 that Chipola athletic director Jeff Johnson has reached out to government officials for help. They're asking anybody in the panhandle community or beyond who may be able to help to please reach out to the college.

Sule is averaging 6.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, playing in all but three games this season.