The Democratic Republic of Congo have formally complained to the Confederation of African Football about the refereeing in last week’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Mauritania.
It follows the sending off of their star player Cedric Bakambu in the 1-1 draw in Nouakchott in Group I on 28 March by Tunisia referee Sadok Selmi.
Congolese players complained bitterly on social media after the game but it has taken a week for the football association Fecofa to officially react.
“Following the events related to the Mauritania-DRC match on 28 March at the Stade de la Capitale in Nouakchott, the Congolese Football Association informs the public that it has taken all necessary measures. The appropriate procedure in this area has been carried out, in compliance with the legal deadlines, introduced with CAF and we are awaiting the follow-up,” a press release said.
"The Congolese Federation of Football Association wishes to reassure fans and supporters of the Leopards and the entire community of its will and determination to defend the rights of the national team and our players, in compliance with CAF rules,” Fecofa added
Bakambu was sent off for alleged contact with opposing goalkeeper Babacar Niasse, although television replays showed he did not touch him.
Au delà du résultat : on aurait peut-être gagné, peut-être pas, ça c’est le football. Mais des décisions comme celles-ci nuisent à nos compétitions et nos sélections, qui ont déjà assez de problèmes pour en rajouter sur le terrain. Respectez nous et notre sport. pic.twitter.com/m0K1Tp1QAe— Arthur Masuaku (@ArthurMasuaku) March 29, 2023
After the match, Bakambu tweeted: “We were keen to revive the team after a bad start during this qualifying campaign. Whatever happens we will always fight for the Congo. Despite the referees, despite the circumstances. We won't let go.”
Forced to play the last half hour down to 10 men, the Leopards only picked up a point and are last in their group with four points from four matches but are only three behind leaders Gabon with two matches all left to play.
DR Congo must now do without Bakambu for their next key qualifier away at Gabon, which match they must win to stand any chance of reaching the finals in the Ivory Coast next January.