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Rio 2016 Qualifier: Congo Plots Dream Team’s Ouster

Claude Leroy, head coach of the Congo national Under-23 team, has included six foreign- based professionals in his plan for this weekend’s decisive Olympic Games qualifying match against Nigeria’s Dream Team in Pointe Noire.

The Congolese, it will be recalled, lost 1-2 to the Dream Team in the first leg match played penultimate weekend in Port Harcourt. Leroy had after the game vowed to stop Nigeria from attending the Africa Under-23 Championship, where the three African teams to next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro would be decided.

A one-goal victory would be enough to send Leroy’s team to the African tourney, and not oblivious of this fact, the Frenchman has now called up six foreign-based professionals who were not released by their clubs for the first leg game in Port Harcourt. The players are midfielders Philzgérarld Mbaka, Hardy Binguila, Charlevy Mabiala, Yohan Andzouana and Julsy Boukama Kaya and striker Syvère Ganvoula Mboussy.

Attacking midfielder from French club AJ Auxerre, Binguila, is already an established full international for his country. Congo reportedly moved into a   training camp on Monday ahead of the match, which holds on Sunday in Pointe Noire. Meanwhile, Uniao da Madeira midfielder Abdullahi Shehu will now join the Dream Team camp after he was certified fit by the doctor of his Portuguese club.

Shehu, a defensive midfielder or right-back, had initially ruled himself out of the game in Pointe Noire. But the former Kano Pillars ace, who suffered what looked like a hamstring injury while playing for his team in a pre-season game against Boavista on Sunday, has now said he would hit camp after he was cleared by his club.

“I am happy to inform you that I have been certified fit for the Under- 23 game against Congo by my team doctor,” Shehu informed AfricanFootball. com “I communicated to coach (Samson) Siasia initially of the injury, but after my club doctor observed me, he told me I am fit and I have told coach Siasia of the latest development that I will be in camp.”

-Oladipo Okubanjo

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