DRC camp involved in hotel fistfight

2014-01-27 14:13

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) stay in South Africa ended on an embarrassing note after a public fight between two squad members this morning – in full view of guests at their Bloemfontein hotel.

The DRC were eliminated from the African Nations Championship (Chan) quarterfinals last night, losing 1-0 to Ghana.

The fistfight just after breakfast at the Protea Hotel – between a player and the kit manager – was apparently over team jerseys that some of the players had not received after being laundered.

TP Mazembe defender Jean Kasusula allegedly landed some blows on the kitman – identified only as Serge – before the scuffle was finally separated by police.

DRC coach Santos Mutubile and even team guest, Jomo Cosmos goalkeeper coach Mpangi Merikani, initially failed to stop the fracas.

Mutubile’s assistant – Guillaume Ilunga – was the only team official prepared to talk about the matter on record, with the aid of an interpreter.

Ilunga said: “For the incident that happened today, whenever you have people there will be problems. This is a family thing and we are going to sort it out among ourselves.”

Hotel spokesperson Rachel Irvine said no guests were inconvenienced by the morning scenes and that “the hotel continues to operate as normal”.

It has been a drama-filled South African stay for the Leopards. Earlier this month, they faced eviction from a Polokwane hotel where they were staging their pre-tournament camp because the DRC sports ministry had not paid the accommodation fees.

Two DRC officials also confirmed that the players staged a two-day stayaway from training in their own money dispute with their association, the Fédération Congolaise de Football-Association (Fecofa).

More trouble will soon follow Fecofa who face being fined by the Confederation of African Football after their fans threw missiles onto the field, protesting the penalty given to Ghana.

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