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FIFA & CAF WRATH: DRC Risk Losing Africa Cup Spot & May Be Excluded From World Qualifiers For Tshisekedi’s Political Interference In TP Mazembe

FIFA & CAF have warned the Democratic Republic of Congo they risk being banned from international football with the Leopards stripped of their place at the Africa Cup of Nations and 2026 World Cup qualifiers should President Félix Tshisekedi and his administration continue to interfere with the operations of TP Mazembe.

CAF was this week forced to switch venues for the newly introduced elite African Club League championship between TP Mazembe and Esperance from Lubumbashi to Tanzania.

This was after Congolese authorities declined to give visas to CAF officials and broadcast crew.

Tshisekedi and his administration declined to facilitate the match because of fears it was giving popular opposition leader Moise Katumbi a lot of traction ahead of the December 20, 2023 presidential elections.

Katumbi has been chairman of TP Mazembe for nearly 20 years.

When CAF faced hurdles, they withdrew the match from Lubumbashi to Dar-es-Salaam but are upset with the inconvenience and logistical cost of doing so.

“We have informed the Congolese government that we are not interested in their internal political situation because all countries do this. They are not the first ones to have elections.

“But if they’re going to interfere with our competitions, we will habe no option but to exclude them from all competitions including the Africa Cup and World Cup,” an official at CAF has warned.

After the warning from CAF and FIFA, the Congolese government swiftly rescinded its decision and authorized the issuance of 60 visas to CAF but it was too late.

TP Mazembe Manager Kitengie Kinkumba thanked the government but regretted that the decision had come too late when CAF had made the decision to switch the match to another country.

“Yesterday at 8:00 p.m., the management of the DGM sent me a letter containing almost 60 visas. We say thank you very much. But if this had happened on Sunday morning as I explained to their manager, we wouldn’t be here. What time wasted on a useless mistake,” said Frédéric Kitenge Kinkumba.

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