BATA, Equatorial Guinea – Zambia says midfielder Clifford Mulenga has been sent home from the African Cup of Nations for partying too late and breaking the team curfew.
Zambia football federation spokesman Erick Mwanza told The Associated Press that Mulenga and two other unidentified players had breached team rules.
“He came home late, that’s one of the reasons,” Mwanza said. “He did not show remorse or apologize like his two other colleagues did. His two other colleagues unreservedly apologized. He did not.
“They went out to some kind of party that was not allowed.”
Mwanza said the decision had been taken “for the good of the team, the rest of the players and for the good of the country in winning a major tournament. We believe it’s the right decision.
“The coach (Herve Renard) says no player is above the rest of the team. They are all equals. The people back home are looking for the team to win and if you have indiscipline in the team you cannot do anything on the pitch, you cannot function.”
Assistant coach Patrice Beaumelle refused to make any further comment, saying “the most important thing is that the team prepares for the quarterfinal” on Saturday in Bata.
Mwanza refused to comment on whether the players had been drinking alcohol. He said the two unidentified players had been punished but would not reveal what sanctions had been taken.
“We’ve taken some action that we don’t want to make public, but they will stay with the team. Clifford Mulenga is on his way home. He is out of the camp.”
Mulenga made one brief appearance as a substitute in Zambia’s 1-0 win against co-host Equatorial Guinea on Sunday.