Rwanda booted out of 2015 Africa Cup of Nations

Rwanda's striker Dady Birori competing during the Africa zone qualifying match in 2012 for the World Cup 2014. (Farouk Batichel, AFP)

Rwanda's striker Dady Birori competing during the Africa zone qualifying match in 2012 for the World Cup 2014. (Farouk Batichel, AFP)

Rwanda has been barred from taking part in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers after one of its players was found to have “two identities” and was using a different name and a Congolese passport when playing for his club team, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said.

CAF said striker Dady Birori was ineligible to play for Rwanda, and disqualified the country from the Africa Cup qualifying competition for fielding him.

Birori, who CAF said was registered as Tady Etekiama when playing for the AS Vita Club of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), was banned pending a hearing on September 17 to decide his sanction. According to the confederation, the Congo-born Birori was also using a different date of birth and Congolese nationality in his club documents.

“CAF established that the two identities only referred to a single person,” Africa’s top football body said.

CAF stripped Rwanda of its victory over the DRC in the second qualifying round of the tournament this month, with the DRC now taking its place in the final round of qualifiers. Birori scored a hat-trick when Rwanda eliminated Libya in the first round of qualifiers.

He has been playing for Rwanda since 2009 and represented it in qualifiers for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.
Rwanda didn’t qualify for either.

Third disqualification
Rwanda is the third team to be booted from the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying competition. Equatorial Guinea was thrown out for fielding an ineligible player, while Gambia was removed after being banned from all competitions for fielding over-age players in a youth tournament qualifier. Eritrea and Seychelles withdrew.

CAF called Birori to its headquarters in Cairo to testify last week before reaching its decision and banning him from all football. The confederation said it would decide the length of Birori’s ban next month and could impose additional sanctions if necessary.

The DRC was reinstated in the qualifiers and will face defending continental champion Nigeria, as well as South Africa and Sudan in Group A. The final round will decide the 15 teams to join host Morocco at the 2015 African Cup of Nations finals in January and February.

Egyptian club Zamalek also appealed to CAF over Birori’s eligibility after losing out to the AS Vita Club for a place in the semi-finals of the African Champions League tournament. The confederation said on Monday that it would examine that complaint. – Sapa

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