AMAVUBI head coach Stephen Constantine is a bitterly disappointed man following Rwanda’s disqualification from the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations group stage qualifiers by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
Constantine, who took charge of the national football team in May on a two-year contract, said he was shocked by Sunday’s decision to ban Rwanda from the continental competition.
The decision, which the Rwanda Football Federation (Ferwafa) has since appealed, was taken after Congo, Rwanda’s last qualification round opponents, petitioned Caf arguing that striker Daddy Birori was an ineligible member of the Rwandan squad since he’s known by a different name at his Congolese club, AS Vita.
The Briton said on his twitter feed: “I am bitterly disappointed with Caf’s decision, the same complaint was made by Libya and it was dismissed so what has changed! A great shame.”
Rwanda eliminated Libya in the first round of qualifiers, with Birori scoring a hat trick in the return leg in Kigali, before going on to beat Congo to a group stage spot, with Birori missing the second leg at home.
The Afcon organising committee, which took the controversial decision, said it had established that Birori also holds a Congolese passport bearing the name Agiti Tady Etekiama, in breach of football rules which bar players from using double or multiple identities.
Birori was also banned from football indefinitely. Rwanda submitted its appeal – to the Caf appeals board – on Tuesday.
Constantine, 51, currently on a short holiday, made a winning debut as Amavubi coach, shocking Libya 3-0 in the return leg of the first round qualifier after the team had lost 2-0 in the first leg under caretaker coach Andre Cassa Mbungo.
FERWAFA challenges the grounds upon which Rwanda was disqualified, arguing that the player acquired the Rwandan passport before DRC’s.
CAF ruled that Congo replaces Rwanda in Group A that also comprises reigning champions Nigeria, South Africa and Sudan.