Footballer and Russian citizen, Gael Ondoua was unable to obtain an entry visa from UK authorities ahead of tonight’s Champions League qualifier with Rangers at Ibrox.
The Cameroon international grew up in Russia and made headlines during last year’s World Cup by wearing the country’s flag on his boots.
Ondoua plays for Swiss club Servette, who are already missing seven players due to injury and suspension ahead of their first leg clash.
At last night’s media conference, Servette officials would not go into details but released a statement saying the club ‘deplores this situation and supports its player and his team, which will have to deal without a major player in its workforce for non-sporting reasons’.
It also confirmed the club had spent two weeks trying to find a solution and had enlisted the SFA’s help.
Ondoua becomes the eighth Servette player ruled out of tonight’s game.
Striker Enzo Crivelli is banned after being sent off in last week’s win over Genk, a match in which first-choice goalkeeper Jeremy Frick was also injured.
Right-back Keigo Tsunemoto is out for a month, while his back-up, Theo Magnin, is also sidelined. Miroslav Stevanovic, Alexis Antunes and Alexander Lyng are all missing through injury.
Weiler said: ‘These players are important for us but I don’t want to spend much time talking about those who can’t play. I’m always confident in my team’s ability.’
He expects his team to embrace the atmosphere inside Ibrox and drew a comparison with his experience of Old Trafford.
‘It’s a motivation for our players,’ he said when asked about playing in front of 50,000 Rangers fans. ‘They must stay focused and deliver a good performance but they should enjoy it. It’s the first time for some of them and an amazing opportunity.
‘I’ve had a few experiences like that. It’s an honour to be here. Like that game against Manchester United, this will be a high-level encounter.
‘It’s something I appreciate about British football, the atmosphere, and I know that goes for my players.’