TP Mazembe refuses to release Zambian players for Brazil friendly

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TP Mazembe has stood its ground and has refused to release three Zambian players for the October 15 friendly against Brazil in Beijing despite a clear-the-air meeting between the club, players and Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) officials yesterday in Lusaka.

The tripartite meeting to resolve the club-versus-country row was held at Cresta Golf View Hotel in Lusaka with FAZ represented by its vice-president, Boniface Mwamelo.
Also present in the midst of the crossfire were players Rainford Kalaba and Nathan Sinkala, who are said to be sick, and defender Stopilla Sunzu, who is reportedly nursing a knee injury.
Mwamelo said that it was unfortunate that TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have decided to breach FIFA rules governing the release of players for international matches under such circumstances.
He said FAZ nominated team doctor Joseph Kabungo, who is in China with the rest of the team, to ascertain the players’ fitness and that the trio was obliged to travel in accordance with FIFA regulations.
“The doctor who is supposed to examine the players is nominated by the FAZ and the nominated FA president is Dr Kabungo; we even delayed his departure to China by three days so that he could examine the players,” Mwamelo said.
“We are still insisting that TP Mazembe have not complied with the FIFA directive because the players were supposed to be examined by a nominated doctor as regards Article 4 and 5.”
Mwamelo said he could not understand why Mazembe could not release Kalaba, Sunzu and Sinkala especially after Belgian club, KAA Gent had allowed injured striker Rodgers Kola to be examined by Kabungo in China.
However, Mazembe, through their Zambia secretary Andre Mtine, said they had availed the players to a local doctor, a Mwila Lupasha, who was present in the meeting, but FAZ refused for the examination to be done in Lusaka.
“The position of TP therefore is if the players are unwell, we maybe compromising their medical conditions by obliging them to travel a great distance,” Mtine said.
“Regrettably, we are unable to allow these players in their current medical state on the advice of our medical team, they will be returning to Congo this afternoon.”
Mtine added that it was unfortunate that the TP Mazembe medical team’s report on the trio’s health status was being doubted, which he said was unprofessional.
Meanwhile, the players where by press time scheduled to return to their base in Lubumbashi.

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