Benik Afobe missed international duty because FA sent paperwork to "wrong Congo"

He is eligible for DR Congo and not the neighbouring Congo

BY Raf Diallo 17:26 Wednesday 23 November 2016, 17:26 23 Nov 2016

Benik Afobe. Picture by John Walton EMPICS Sport

Bournemouth striker Benik Afobe has yet to make a senior international appearance for any nation.

The Arsenal academy graduate and best friend to new on-loan Cherries midfielder Jack Wilshere has been capped from under-16 level to the under-21s for England.

But at senior level, he has decided to represent the Democractic Republic of Congo where both his parents are from.

Called up for the DR Congo's 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Guinea this month which the Leopards won 2-1 away to sit joint-top of their group alongisde Tunisia, Afobe would have already made an appearance had it not been an error from the English FA.

Instead of sending his registration to DR Congo, whose capital is Kinshasa, the FA sent it onto the geographically smaller neighbour of almost the same, the Republic of Congo whose capital Brazzaville sits directly on the opposite bank of the Congo river from the DR Congo's capital.

"Basically, the FA sent my paperwork to the wrong Congo. Transferring it took about 10 days and once Fifa had cleared their workload with all the internationals on around the world, it was the day after the World Cup qualifier against Guinea," Afobe revealed.

He had also flown over for the away match against Guinea at Conakry's Stade de 28 Septembre only to discover he was ineligible, although he looked at the silver linings.

"In order for me to get used to the squad and the conditions, it was worth making the trip and the team won 2-1," he said.

DR Congo have qualified for January's Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon in a group alongside Ivory Coast, Morocco and Togo.

And if they manage to qualify for the World Cup, it would be their first appearance in world football's global showpiece since 1974 when they conceded 14 goals and scored none against Brazil, Scotland and Yugoslavia under their former name of Zaire.

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