JOHANNESBURG - Holders TP Mazembe
Englebert of the Democratic Republic of Congo have been thrown
out of the African Champions League for fielding an ineligible
player, the Confederation of African Football said on Saturday.
Mazembe, who were seeking an unprecedented third successive
continental title, were found guilty of fraud by the
competition's organising committee at their regular mid-season
meeting in Cairo.
Mazembe used Janvier Bokungu, who CAF found was contracted
with another club but used by Mazembe in both legs of their
second round tie against Simba SC of Tanzania in April.
CAF said they had investigated the eligibility of Bokungu,
who had signed for Mazembe despite still being under contract at
Esperance of Tunisia, after complaints from Simba.
Bokungu, 22, was suspended earlier this month by African
football's governing body despite Mazembe's assertion he had
terminated his contract in Tunisia to re-join his old side.
Mazembe's owner, Moise Katumbi, denied any wrongdoing and
said they would appeal against CAF's decision.
"We are very surprised to see that Mazembe has been
disqualified, we know our administration (of the club) is very
clean," he told Reuters by telephone, adding that Mazembe's fans
were shocked at the news.
A CAF statement said Simba would be reinstated into the
competition and would play a one-off match with Morocco's Wydad
Casablanca, who lost on aggregate to Mazembe in the third round
The winner will qualify for the league phase which starts in
mid-July. The draw will be made in Cairo on Sunday.
Mazembe are also in danger of forfeiting their place in the
Congolese league after departing this week for a training camp
in Brazil despite having a key match scheduled at the weekend.
The league said the request (to travel to Brazil) had been
turned down because it was submitted on the same day that
"Given that we received your letter asking for the
postponement of league matches on the same day you flew to
Brazil, we consider this a deliberate attempt to make us accept
it as a 'fait accompli'," said a statement from the FECOFA, the
However, Katumbi told Reuters the team had received
permission to travel to Brazil and there were "no problems" with
the Congolese football authorities.
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