Congo to appeal against lifting of Morocco coach's ban at Africa Cup

AP , Monday 29 Jan 2024

Morocco's and Congo's argument at the Africa Cup of Nations rumbles on.

Congo
Players of Morocco and Congo argue after the final whistle of the African Cup of Nations Group F soccer match between Morocco and DR Congo, at the Laurent Pokou stadium in San Pedro, Ivory Coast, Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024. AP

 

The Congolese soccer federation on Monday said it was appealing against the lifting of a suspension of Morocco coach Walid Regragui for his role in the melee after the teams’ heated encounter.

Regragui was initially banned for four games — with two suspended — by the Confederation of African Football, but its appeal board on Sunday partially upheld an appeal filed by the Moroccan federation against the ban, clearing the coach to return on Tuesday for his team’s last-16 game against South Africa.

“Convinced of the totally unjustified nature of this cancellation, the Congolese Federation of Association Football announces its intention to bring the matter before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, upon receipt of the reasoned decision,” the Congolese federation said in a statement.

The Congolese federation said Regragui made “detailed confessions” and footage of the disturbances “leave no shadow of a doubt” he was in the wrong.

The Moroccan federation argued in its appeal against the initial CAF ban that it was an “unjust decision” because the coach “did not commit any behavior that violates the spirit of sportsmanship.”

Regragui sat out Morocco’s final group game as the Atlas Lions defeated Zambia 1-0 in the first game after his suspension.

Regragui and Congo captain Chancel Mbemba had a heated exchange after their teams’ match ended 1-1 in San Pedro on Jan. 21. It led to a melee between players and officials from both teams that continued down the players’ tunnel.

Mbemba implied to journalists after the game that Regragui insulted him, but the Morocco coach later denied making any racist comments.

Mbemba’s Instagram account was subjected to a stream of racist abuse, while Regragui said he received death threats in the fallout.

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