Visa complications have stopped Adelaide 36ers’ Filipino centre Kai Sotto from travelling with the team to Auckland for Sunday’s match against the New Zealand Breakers.
In a statement, the club confirmed 218cm tall Soto had flown back to Adelaide from Melbourne, where the Sixers had remained after their defeat of Melbourne United on Thursday night.
The club said it had “exhausted all options to get approval for (Sotto) to travel into New Zealand” but he would be available for their follow-up game against the Perth Wildcats on Thursday.
The Sixers told AAP Sotto was in good spirits despite his visa dilemma but declined to elaborate on the nature of his refusal into New Zealand.
Per the New Zealand Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Philippine nationals require a visa to enter New Zealand, which allows them to stay in the country for nine months.
Sotto has played in the NBL since last season but Sunday’s match was set to be his first in New Zealand, given COVID-19 restrictions meant no games were played on the other side of the Tasman in the 2021-22 campaign.
The Sixers last travelled to New Zealand in May 2021 for a match against the Breakers in Christchurch.