ROBINSON KUNDA, MULWANDA LUPIYA, Lusaka, Ndola
DEMOCRATIC Republic of Congo (DRC) Super League side Lubumbashi Sports have reported the matter involving Nkana striker Walter Bwalya’s nationality status to their
Haut-Katanga Sports Minister Serge Nkonde confirmed yesterday that the club wants Nkana to pay a transfer fee to them because Bwalya, who is still registered in DRC as a Lubumbashi Sports player under the names Binene Sabwa, was their player.
Nkonde said the Congolese want to resolve the matter amicably, but failure by Nkana and Bwalya to respect their wish would force them to report the matter to world football body FIFA.
“This matter is now before my office because Lubumbashi Sports have complained to me. That player is Congolese and his club here did not clear him to start playing in Zambia. He just disappeared some years ago,” Nkonde said in a telephone interview.
“The people here don’t want to ruin his career but help him by normalising this matter. Nkana have to come here, sit with Lubumbashi Sports and agree on a compensation fee because he is playing in Zambia illegally. His ITC [international transfer certificate] is still in Congo.”
Bwalya is at the centre of a dispute after Lusaka Dynamos complained to the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) to investigate his eligibility to play in the local league without an ITC.
Bwalya, who claims he is Zambian, once played for the TP Mazembe Academy before moving to FC Corbaux in DRC and then finally Lubumbashi Sports.
He then appeared at Forest Rangers who later sold him to Nkana three years ago.
The Immigration Department in Zambia has declared Bwalya a Congolese.
Nkonde advised the player to be truthful if this matter was to be resolved.
“In his heart, he knows what the truth is because I have been investigating this issue in Congo. Let him and Nkana co-operate, otherwise people risk being banned from football if we pursue this matter further,” he said.
“In fact, Lubumbashi Sports were in the process of writing to the Congo Football Association and FIFA to complain but I have stopped them for now.”
Meanwhile, former Forest Rangers team manager Peter Witola said Bwalya had a Zambian national registration card (NRC) when he arrived at the Ndola based club in 2013.
Witola said Forest registered Bwalya as a Zambian with FAZ because the player had an NRC.
And FAZ said the association is still investigating the matter and will only give a position once the investigations are over.
“The association is already in receipt of a letter of complaint filed by Lusaka Dynamos Football Club. However, FAZ will only be able to state clearly its position on this matter once the findings are concluded.
“FAZ has so far commenced investigations into this case with full support from the Congolese Football Federation (FECOFOOT),” FAZ communications manager Desmond Katongo said in a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday.