Zambia want Fifa to punish TP Mazembe
Posted Saturday, October 19 2013 at 01:00
Lusaka- Zambia’s FA wants Fifa to take action against TP Mazembe after three players from the Congolese club failed to travel to China for a recent friendly.
The 2012 African champions lost 2-0 against Brazil on Tuesday, but were without injured trio Nathan Sinkala, Rainford Kalaba and Stoppila Sunzu. “We need to guard against this happening in future,” said Zambia FA (FAZ) vice-president Boniface Mwamelo.
Mazembe have refuted allegations that they asked their players not to travel. “If Mazembe did not want the player to travel to China because he was injured, then we would not have chartered a plane to take the players to Zambia,” club chairman Moise Katumbi told BBC Sport.
“It cost us a lot of money but they never checked on the players. I hope they know what they are doing.”
One Mazembe player did contest Tuesday’s match in Beijing but Zambian officials say the club did not release its injured trio - two of whom are said to have malaria, while Sunzu has knee troubles - early enough.
“When we saw the challenges with Mazembe regarding the players’ release, we sought Fifa intervention,” Mwamelo told BBC Sport.
“Fifa then wrote on 11 October to give a clear directive that Mazembe should release the players for them to be assessed a doctor appointed by the Zambian FA.”
FAZ says the players arrived in the Zambian capital Lusaka so late they missed a meeting with national team doctor Joseph Kabungo, so prompting chairman Kalusha Bwalya to request their presence in Beijing.
The players then went missing, where upon Zambian officials issued arrest warrants for them, saying the trio had secretly travelled back to the Democratic Republic of Congo - a claim Mazembe also deny.
“The Department (of Immigration) intends to arrest the players and anyone who may have aided their illegal crossing,” Zambia’s Department of Immigration public relations officer Namati Nshinka said in a statement.
“We have alerted our officers throughout the country especially those at the borders to intercept the players on sight.”