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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 November, 2003, 15:55 GMT
Lua Lua may miss Tunisia
DR Congo captain Lomana Lua Lua
Lomana Lua Lua is trying to force his way into Newcastle's starting XI

DR Congo captain Lomana Tresor Lua Lua could miss next year's Nations Cup finals in Tunisia as a result of club commitments.

Lua Lua, who plays for English Premiership club Newcastle, admitted he would not make up his mind on playing at the tournament, which starts on 24 January, until the last possible moment.

"Whether I participate in the African Nations Cup depends on a number of factors," said the 22-year-old.

"I just want to play football whenever and wherever I can. I would rather it was with Newcastle, but who knows if that will happen?

I want to go there as my country's captain
Lomana Lua Lua

"If I do go to Tunisia, then I'd get a great deal of experience playing in one of the biggest competitions in the world - and I would be guaranteed to play in every DR Congo game."

Lua Lua has had to wait patiently for his chance at Newcastle, with Nigerian-born team-mate Shola Ameobi often preferred when first-choice striker Craig Bellamy is absent.

With talk of Newcastle renewing their interest in FC Barcelona's Dutch striker Patrick Kluivert, when Europe's transfer window re-opens in January, Lua Lua knows a crucial point in his career is approaching.

But since being given the DR Congo captaincy, there is tremendous pressure on him to help his country in Tunisia.

"When I was named captain, that certainly changed things," the striker told the Newcastle-based newspaper The Journal.

"I want to go there as my country's captain and prove myself in that role."

Lua Lua went on to say that he would definitely go to Tunisia if he is not getting first-team football with his club.

"Influential people will be watching; the games will be screened all over the world, and the public will get an opportunity to see what I'm capable of," he explained.

"What I need most of all is a run of games, and it is possible that I won't get that run at Newcastle.

"I didn't want to go back home when things were not going well for me at United - but if I'm not playing first-team football then why not?"

DRC 'ineligibles' could play
21 Oct 03  |  African
DR Congo striker has surgery
29 Aug 03  |  African

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