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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 October, 2003, 19:07 GMT 20:07 UK
DRC 'ineligibles' could play
Makukula in action for Portugal under-21's
Ariza Makukula in action for Portugal under-21's
Two players thought to be ineligible for DR Congo's preliminary Nations Cup squad could qualify under new Fifa regulations.

Ariza Makukula, who has been capped by Portugal's under-21 team and Anderlecht defender Gabriel Ngalula Mbuyi, who played for Belgium at the same level, are the possible beneficaries of the new rule.

The new regulations, which come into effect from 1 January 2004, stipulate that up to his 21st birthday a player can make one request to change the country he represents, providing he hasn't taken any part in a full international.

The player must also have had the dual nationality at the time he played at junior level.

There is also an exemption for players who are now over 21 to benefit from the new rules but they have 12 months from 1 January 2004 to make a formal request.

They must also satisfy the criteria that applies to players under the age of 21.

Makukula, who plays for Spanish club Valladolid, was brought up in Europe even though he was born in Kinshasa.

Ngalula, better known in Belgium as 'Junior', made his debut for Belgium's under-21 side in a recent European Championship game against Estonia.

As long as both players had dual nationality when they played for their European countries, they could make a written request to Fifa asking to play for DR Congo at the Nations Cup.

DR Congo have yet to appoint a coach to take charge of the side following Joseph Mukeba's decision to join South African premier league club Zulu Royals in July.

Frenchman Alain Giresse and former Oldham and Huddersfield manager Mick Wadsworth have recently been named as possible candidates for the post.

The Simbas have been drawn with hosts Tunisia, Guinea and Rwanda in Group A at the Nations Cup finals, which starts on 24 January.

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