Mbokani faces DRC sanction


Mbokani did not travel for the home and away matches against Angola in Group B of the qualifying competition after narrowly escaping with his life when suicide bombers killed a total of 39 in attacks on the Zaventem airport and the Brussels metro.

Congo Football Federation president Constant Omari, who is also a FIFA executive committee member, told French radio that Mbokani faces possible sanction because he did not arrive for the game.

The Norwich City striker was outside the departure hall when the two bombs went off and although unhurt fled the scene and later told reporters his wife had saved his life by insisting he wait for a friend to join him before entering the airport building while he had impatiently been heading to the check-in counters.

His teammate Cedric Bakumbu from Spanish club Villarreal was also booked on the same flight and arrived in Kinshasa the next day on an alternate flight from Charleroi but Mbokani stayed behind at his home in Brussels instead of traveling to Kinshasa for the match against Angola on March 26 and then the next fixture in Luanda three days later. DR Congo won both games to put themselves on course to qualify for next year’s finals in Gabon.

“It’s true there were problems at the airport, but Bakambu was on the same plane (as Mbokani) and had to leave Brussels. But he caught an alternate plane from Charleroi and did everything to come here (to Kinshasa). We called Mbokani and told him of the new arrangements being made but he turned us down,” Omari said.

Omari said Mbokani, as a senior member of the Congolese squad, had to set an example to the rest of the team. “Do you think we need him again for the national team? I’d prefer to lose but with disciplined players,” the FECAFOOT president added.