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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 January 2006, 14:36 GMT
LuaLua in DR Congo strike threat
Lomano LuaLua (left) in action for DR Congo against Togo
The president gave his word and I'm sure he won't let us down
DR Congo captain Lomano LuaLua
DR Congo captain Lomana LuaLua has revealed he and his team-mates were just hours away from boycotting their opening African Cup of Nations game.

DR Congo players threatened to strike over a pay dispute with team officials, but went on to beat Togo 2-0.

LuaLua said: "It should have been sorted out a long time ago what they were going to pay the players.

"We are still waiting for it to be resolved but we are united and as captain I'll stick up for everyone."

LuaLua said it was a telephone call from DR Congo president Joseph Kabila that persuaded them the matter would soon be resolved.

"I spoke to him 15 minutes before the game," added LuaLua. "He told us to really do well and that he would sort things out. That was a bonus for us.

"The president gave his word and I'm sure he won't let us down.

"We told the official that whatever you're offering the players you can keep it, and when you come back with something better you can let us know, but we're going to play this game.

"We know how much it means to our people back home and we can't let down the people who have spent their money to travel here."

Manager Claude LeRoy supported the players' cause and LuaLua acknowledged it has been hard on the Frenchman, who only wanted to prepare his team for the the tournament.

"The manager's been brilliant," said LuaLua. "He was down yesterday...he's been through a lot."

Siding with his team, LeRoy had told a packed news confrence: "There are people in the government who do not respect our players."


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