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Last Updated: Friday, 4 June, 2004, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK
LuaLua hits out at DRC's Federation
By Osasu Obayiuwana
BBC Sport

Lomana LuaLua
LuaLua says he has been poorly treated by the DR Congo Federation

DR Congo striker Lomana LuaLua has blamed his country's football federation, Fecofa, for the poor state of the national team.

The 23-year-old, who plays for English Premiership side Portsmouth, said the level of distrust between Fecofa and DR Congo's international players has dampened morale.

The Simbas kick off their 2006 World Cup qualifying campaign against Uganda's Cranes in Kampala on Saturday 5 June.

"Instead of moving forward we are going backwards," LuaLua said in a recent television interview.

"It's a shame. Football in Congo used to be the best in Africa but we're just not organised.

I felt betrayed by the federation
Lomana LuaLua

"So many Congolese players have taken up different nationalities [because of the problems in the country]," he complained.

The striker was critical of the way the Simbas were managed at the African Cup of Nations in Tunisia.

"Before our match against Guinea, we were woken up at 12.30 in the morning to resolve players bonuses and allowances.

"These things should have been sorted before the tournament."

LuaLua is unable to play in the 5 June match as a result of a suspension imposed after he was expelled from DR Congo's game against Tunisia at the Cup of Nations.

He admitted that as captain of the Simbas he should have led by example and not lashed out at his opponent.

But he accused Fecofa officials of abandoning him when he needed their moral support.

"The Federation should support the players but they don't.

"There were rumours that I was bribed by Tunisia and this upset the fans back home.

"I felt betrayed by the federation, as I had to pay soldiers to look after my family."

However, he said that he would continue to be available for international selection once his suspension is over.

"I can never turn my back on my country. I play for Congo because I am proud to do it."


SEE ALSO
LuaLua snubs Magpies plea
06 May 04  |  Newcastle United



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