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CAF kicks African champions out of Champions League

Abuja – The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has disqualified defending champions TP Mazembe of DR Congo from further participation in this year’s edition of the African Champions League.

The disqualification of the four-times African champions followed a complaint filed by Simba Sports of Tanzania after match 68 of the 2011 Champions League.

The  reports that Mazembe, CAF Champions League winners in 2009 and 2010, had beaten Simba 6-3 on aggregate in the second round of the competition.

But Simba had complained about the eligibility of Janvier Bokungu, a 22-year-old Kinshasa-born defender, who was transferred from Mazembe to Tunisian club Esperance in 2007 and rejoined the Congolese club this year.

CAF had then launched an investigation on the eligibility of Bokungu, with the findings submitted to the Organising Committee for CAF Interclubs Competitions.

“Based on those findings, the Organising Committee decided to disqualify TP Mazembe on the basis of Chapter VIII of the competition’s rules and regulations.

“This is in relation to fraud. The club is also guilty on the basis of article 24, as well as article 26 which is relating to the qualification of players.

“The club is also guilty on the basis of article 29 of the league’s regulations,” a CAF statement released on Saturday in Cairo, Egypt said.

According to the statement posted on the confederation’s website in Cairo on Saturday, the Organising Committee also decided that a replacement will be made after a play-off match.

The match is to be played this week in a neutral venue, between Simba FC and Wydad of Casablanca with Simba hosting Morocco’s Wydad.

The Moroccan side had lost to Mazembe in the competition’s third round, while looking for a place in the group stage of the competition.

Sokungu had been accused of breaking a contract with the Tunis team which runs until June this year, but a Mazembe official insisted the Bokungu transfer was legal.

“Janvier properly revoked his contract with Esperance and Mazembe have no problem with the player or his former club.

“He was acquired after a mutual agreement,” Mazembe general manager Frederic Kitengie was quoted to have said in defence by the CAF website.(NAN


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