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Zambian Soccer Players To Face Immigration Investigation

posted 6 Nov 2013, 09:09 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 6 Nov 2013, 09:09 ]

Authorities in Zambia are investigating circumstances under which three Zambia national soccerteam players Stoppilla SunzuNathan Sinkala and Rainford Kalaba had left the country illegally into Democratic Republic of Congo to play for their club TP Mazembe.

LUSAKAZAMBIA (REUTERS) - Zambian national football team players Nathan Sinkala, Stopilla Sunzu, Rainford Kalabaface investigation over immigration offences.

According to media reports, the trio who are all based with the Democratic Republic of Congo clubTP Mazembe are facing warrants of arrest from Zambian immigration authorities after they returned to their club without permission, failing to play in a match against Brazil.

TP Mazembe initially refused to release the players, saying they had "malaria and digestive problems", but the Zambian FA demanded they travel to Lusaka in any case for examination.

The website Zambian Football (www.zambianfootball.co.zm) said the trio were told to travel with the squad to China but instead went back to Mazembe.

The website reproduced a statement from the Zambian immigration service saying the players "crossed into Congo without following the immigration exit procedure".

"The act is clear that these players crossed into Congo but did not appear before immigration because our records, after a thorough check we discovered that there was no record of them making exit from Zambia into Congo which in essence means that they actually crossed into Congo without appearing before an immigration officer which is illegal in immigration context," said immigration officer Namati Nshika.

World Cup hosts Brazil were made to work hard for a 2-0 win last week over Chipolopolo whose coach quit last week and who were missing the three players facing arrest, in a bizarre club-versus-country row.

The Football Association of Zambia is now locked in a feud with TP Mazembe owner, Moses Katumbi, who is also the governor of Katanga province in Congo's east.

Katumbi has expressed concern over the investigations into the players whose passports are reported to have been confiscated by Zambian authorities and is calling on FIFA to intervene.

Analysts say FAZ will need to show their authority in the matter in order to remain credible.

"Well, with this development of the three players, Stopilla SunzuNathan Sinkala and Rainford Kalaba, its a very serious case whichever way you look at it because the Zambian FA will have to review what punishment they are going to mete out and that is for sure," said Daniel Kaoma, a football analyst in Lusaka.

Zambia, who failed to qualify for the World Cup, were playing under 35-year-old interim coachPatrice Beaumelle after his flamboyant fellow-Frenchman Herve Renard, who had picked the squad, resigned to take charge of Ligue 1 side Sochaux.

Kaoma says the reputation of the three players will likely suffer most as a result of the row.

"As regards the future of the three players, they are very promising young men who are below 30, so, so many clubs out there in Europe and out there have been tracking them, and with this behaviour that has been exhibited by the three musketeers so to say, it waters down on them and it will take long before the people who are pursuing them as scouts can reconsider," he said.

The trio are reported to have sneaked into Democratic Republic of Congo where they were required to prepare for league at TP Mazembe.

The Congolese club's officials deny this and say that the players are still in Zambia.


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