–French coach says Congo are ready for AFCON group stage contest
Congo national team coach Claude Le Roy says his side are ready for the group stage of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The Red Devils were eliminated on penalties by Rwanda in the previous round but have since been reinstated by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) after Amavubi were found guilty of fielding an ineligible player.
The player in question is striker Dady Birori, who also plays under the name Tady Etekiama for his club AS Vita and holds two different passports.
“We knew that our claims were admissible, the player in question had two identities and two passports,” Le Roy told RFI. “It was unthinkable for a second that CAF would not reject the qualification of Rwanda for the group stage.”
Although Rwanda have indicated that they will appeal the disqualification, Le Roy believes the decision will stand.
“Things are so clear. At the press conference in Kigali after our elimination on penalties, I told Rwandan journalists that we would win after the protest,” he said.
“The Congolese Federation, with the support of the government, was even willing to pay for the “two players,” Dady and Etekiama to travel to the CAF headquarters in Cairo for their identities to be evaluated. But of course, this was not possible since both players are in fact one and the same person.”
Congo are set to compete in Group A alongside reigning African champions Nigeria, as well as South Africa and Sudan, with the first game against the Super Eagles scheduled forSeptember 6.
Le Roy is adamant that they will be prepared for the opening match as the disqualification of Rwanda did not catch them by surprise.
“It has always been as though we have qualified,” he said. “I have even submitted a list of players that I have shortlisted. The players were made aware so the time we have to prepare is the same as for all other teams.”
The 66-year-old is also looking forward to welcoming a number of overseas-based players who were not part of the side during the preliminary qualifiers as they didn’t fall during FIFA dates.
“We know we will have our players available,” he said. “The French clubs who wanted to play smart by not releasing players (in the second round of the playoffs), will no longer have a say.”