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Last Updated: Friday, 18 June, 2004, 10:31 GMT 11:31 UK
LuaLua apologises to DR Congo
By Patrice Citera
BBC Sport, Kinshasa

LuaLua [far right] was expelled for hitting an opponent

Lomana LuaLua has apologised to DR Congo for his behaviour at the African Cup of Nations in Tunisia.

He was red-carded during the Simbas' group match against the hosts and was subsequently accused by fans of being bribed by the eventual African Champions.

The 23-year-old, who plays for English Premiership side Portsmouth, denied the allegations and said his loyalty to the country was unquestionable.

"I did not take a bribe from Tunisia. I wanted our national team to go further in the tournament," he told journalists in Kinshasa on Thursday.

"I was set to make my name during the Cup of Nations, where I wanted to be one of the best players on the tournament."

LuaLua said he turned down an offer to play for England because of his allegiance to his country of birth.

"Many England FA officials, including the manager, Sven-Goran Ericsson, tried to persuade me change my nationality but I turned them down."

Despite leaving his country of birth for England at the age of 11, LuaLua said he is determined to play his role in restoring the past football glory of the country.

DR Congo have not qualified for a World Cup finals since 1974.

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