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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 January, 2004, 11:24 GMT
LuaLua may quit DR Congo
DR Congo striker Lomana LuaLua
LuaLua is restrained by team-mates after reacting angrily to his red card
Striker Lomana LuaLua may quit international football following his red card in the Democratic Republic of Congo's defeat at the hands of hosts Tunisia.

The Newcastle United striker was sent off in the first half for flicking a boot into the leg of Jawhar Mnari, though the Tunisia midfielder clearly over-reacted.

LuaLua took three minutes to leave the pitch and when he finally calmed down he revealed he is now concerned for the safety of his family at home in DR Congo.

"I think that could be it for international football now," he said.

The 23-year-old striker added: "It's my fault we lost and I have no idea what the reaction is going to be back home in DR Congo.

I was punched and kicked throughout, but I should be bigger than that
Lomana LuaLua

"I'm not sure if it's worth it. I'm putting mine and my family's life at risk. I haven't even had a chance to speak to them yet and I've no idea what will happen to them back home."

The match was locked at 0-0 when LuaLua received his marching orders in the 38th minute.

But three second half goals saw the hosts through to the quarter-finals and left DR Congo unable to qualify from the group stages.

LuaLua blames himself for that defeat and issued an apology to his coach, Mick Wadsworth.

"I was punched and kicked throughout, but I should be bigger than that. I shouldn't have reacted the way I did.

"At the end of the day, the Tunisians got what they wanted, but I'd like to say sorry to coach Mick and all the players.

"It's my fault we lost."

I can take losing because I never thought we had the best team anyway, but I don't like the way their players behaved
Congo coach Mick Wadsworth

Wadsworth conceded that his striker had been wrong to react to provocation but criticised the host nation's players for their behaviour in the game.

"Lomana knows he's been stupid. He knew he was going to be under pressure and he knew he was going to get provoked," Wadsworth said.

The English coach added: "You can't do anything now as there's so many cameras and so much pressure on referees to clamp down on retaliation.

"I can take losing because I never thought we had the best team anyway, but I don't like the way their players behaved.

"They were taking dives all over the place. That's not fair play. It's disgraceful."

An angry LuaLua also claimed the Congolese squad had been unfairly treated throughout the tournament and during the build-up to the Cup of Nations.

He revealed: "The training pitch is an hour and a half from the hotel, and it's rubbish. How can we train twice a day in those conditions?

"We're made to sleep in double beds together, while Guinea and Mali get separate single beds. What sort of tournament is this?"





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