Two ex-Sunderland players reportedly go missing – nowhere to be seen is what some of the reports have stated within the first week of April.
Reports suggest that Black Cats record signing Didier Ndong has gone AWOL whilst goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon also can’t be found.
Out in Gabon “Where is Didier Ndong hiding?” That’s the question being asked by the media out in the African country.
The former League One club’s midfielder was allegedly due to turn out for his national side against Angola during the international break, however failed to appear.
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A report claims that Ndong did in fact turn up for a pre-match Covid test, but from there on, he was then nowhere to be seen whilst the Gabon squad spent a night in a hotel before being due to board the team bus for an African Cup of Nations qualifier.
Gabon lost their game 2-0, however it was a scoreline that meant nothing to them considering they had already qualified for AFCON21.
Some suggest that Ndong’s mindset could have been distracted by one other report which says the Dijon midfielder owes around £13,000 in “unpaid rent” for a football club that was founded by the man himself in Gabon in 2017.
The article suggests that the ground at which Ndong’s Club Sportif de Libreville has been “locked up for three years”.
The son of the stadium has stated: “He must pay the rent and return the premises. As long as he has not done so, I will always be behind him day and night to hunt him down.”
It’s not the first time Ndong has performed a missing trick. He was eventually sacked by the North East outfit after failing to show up following relegation in 2018.
At the time, it was reported that Ndong had returned to Gabon to train alone having faced “personal financial difficulties”, then the 35-capped international signed for Ligue 1 club Guingamp before moving to FC Dijon in 2019.
Ndong had previously been accused of being absent from Gabon in 2015 and 2016. It has recently been reported in the French media that Ndong earns around £70,000 a month for playing at Dijon. But can he really be in the struggling with that kind of cash?
Fair to say it’s quite the bizarre one of many throughout his career, and he isn’t even 27 yet!
When Guingamp revealed him, he said language problems and the absence of his family made life at Sunderland difficult for him, and accused the club of ‘chattering’ about him when his conduct became public.
“I spent eighteen months in Lorient, I came from Tunisia and I think that my adaptation to France was not over when I left,” he said.
“My transfer to Sunderland was not really my will.
“Loic Fery [Lorient president], who is a president who also loved me, was forced to sell me because Lorient needed money at that time.
“My first season went well in England.
“In terms of the game, there was no problem.
“But there was a lack of language and the absence of my family, all that hurt me.
“I also did not understand the good behaviour to have in Europe.
“I had some delays, I lacked professionalism. There are many things that I did not master.
“At one point in the season, the club was not doing well – it went down two times in a row – and it started chattering around me.
“There was also poor communication. It cost me dear.”
As mentioned, two ex-Sunderland players reportedly go missing, goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon is widely reported to have vanished.
He failed to turn up for training at current club Denizlispor last week.
The Turkish top-flight outfit announced they would “resort to all legal means” as a result of 6ft 8in stopper’s no-show .
In his defence, it had been reported earlier in the year that Pantilimon had made representations to UEFA to have his contract cancelled with Denizlispor due to “financial irregularities”.
WeAreWearside say: “Regardless, you’d think someone of the Romanian’s size would be hard to miss, never mind lose somewhere out there in Turkey.
“Pants joined Denizlispor in September 2020, signed on an initial 18-month agreement from Nottingham Forest. The giant goalie had been loaned out to Cypriot First Division side Omonia prior to his move to the Süper Lig side.
“Pantilimon made 45 appearances for Sunderland after arriving in 2014 from Manchester City. The now-34 had been Gus Poyet’s third signing of that summer.
“He arrived hot on the heels of Jordi Gomez and Billy Jones in a bout of transfer activity that would make any Mackem wince just at the mere memory.
“Much has been said about the bad apples who permeated the ranks of SAFC during a torrid spell for the club.
“The period during which the club rapidly descended from a decade-long stay in the Premier League to global TV car crash in Sunderland Till I Die is well documented.
“This latest news of a no-show does beg the question though. Did Sunderland during that time (the infamous “p*ss-taking party” period) create these characters, or did these characters create the disaster that unfolded at the Stadium of Light?
“What odds later today that reports emerge that Papy Djilobodji has once again disappeared from wherever he currently plies his trade (he’s also in Turkey with Gaziantep F.K at the moment – whoever they are.
“Papy and Pants enjoying a pint in the Turkish sunshine recalling their glory days on Wearside perhaps? The mind boggles.”
Fingers crossed that the two ex-Sunderland players reportedly go missing can be found soon, wherever they are!