DR Congo’s Mbokani quits internationals

6 Apr

Norwich and DR Congo striker Dieumerci Mbokani

Mbokani has 16 goals in 31 appearances for DR Congo

DR Congo and Norwich striker Dieumerci Mbokani has quit internationals after his country’s FA threatened to ban him for missing two Afcon qualifiers.

Mbokani missed the games with Angola after being caught up in the Brussels airport attacks on his way to Kinshasa.

The 30-year-old told BBC Sport: “I was traumatised. I have no idea why they would want to suspend me.

“The Congolese FA president said ‘since when do people from DR Congo get traumatised?’ That’s shameful.”

The attacks at the airport and a metro station on 22 March left 32 people dead.

“You can’t imagine a terrorist attack like that. It’s the first time I’ve been through something like this,” added the striker, who is on loan at Premier League side Norwich from Ukrainian champions Dynamo Kiev

“I gave my reasons for not being able to go – because of the terrorist attack.

“After that the federation told the press in Congo that was false, that I had to go. But I said I couldn’t go and that’s why they’ve created problems for me.

“The president of the federation told the press I would be suspended. That’s what the problem is.

“I asked my club Norwich City if I could stay for a few days with my family and they accepted straight away. They know very well that I only just escaped being killed. That’s why I wanted to stay with my family.

“The football federation in DR Congo think I’m lying, that I’m not telling the truth. That’s why I’m going to stop playing for the national team.”

Congolese FA president Constant Omari has questioned why Mbokani did not travel when his compatriot Cedric Bakambu, who was also at Brussels airport, did make it to Kinshasa.

He told French radio: “It’s true there were problems at the airport, but Bakambu was on the same plane and had to leave Brussels.

“But he caught an alternate plane from Charleroi and did everything to come here (to Kinshasa). We called Mbokani and told him of the new arrangements being made but he turned us down.”

Omari said Mbokani, as a senior member of the squad, should set an example to the rest of the team.

“Do you think we need him again for the national team? I’d prefer to lose but with disciplined players,” he added.

Omari’s comments are likely to do little to help resolve the situation, given Mbokani appears unwilling to play again for DR Congo even if he receives an apology from the federation.

“No, I’ve taken my decision, I don’t think I will change my mind, I think it’s the best moment to stop playing for the national team,” Mbokani said.

“I’m still a bit traumatised by what happened but Norwich have been really helpful, so have my team-mates – they have really helped during a difficult time. So for the time being I feel fine.”


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