World Cup Qualifying - Africa

Congo DR squad fear for lives in Libya

June 7, 2013
By Ian Holyman, France Correspondent

Congo DR defender Cedric Mongongu has questioned FIFA's wisdom in allowing Libya to stage Friday's World Cup qualifier between the pair on home soil, claiming the visiting squad are "afraid" because of the lack of security.

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The Group I encounter in Tripoli marks the first competitive game Libya have hosted since the fall of Colonel Gaddafi in 2011, with the country having previously played their 'home' matches at neutral venues because of safety fears.

Opponents Congo DR currently lie third in the group, a point behind Libya and two adrift of leaders Cameroon, but Mongongu – who plays his club football with Ligue 1 side Evian - says the team's thoughts are focused more on their security than a place in Brazil.

"We don't go near the windows for fear of being hit by a stray bullet," Mongongu told L'Equipe. "We're afraid. Once in our rooms, we don't want to go out again, that avoids any problems.

"We're better protected by staying inside. At one moment, shots were going off for a whole hour. It's tough to deal with, because you don't know what might happen."

"It's the first time Libya have played at home since the war and it's against us. How can FIFA accept a match be organised in such conditions? It's terrible and unbelievable."

Claude Le Roy's Congo DR face a potential capacity crowd of 70,000 when they kick off at 17:30 CET, and Mongongu said the squad are fearful of an incident akin to events in the Angolan enclave of Cabinda in 2010, when three people were killed when separatists opened fire on the Togo team coach ahead of the African Nations Cup.

"We only have one idea in our heads: to get on the plane as quickly as possible and get home in one piece. We speak about what happened to Togo. We don't want to go through that, it freaks us out. What we're going through is traumatic. Football should be about enjoyment. We can't wait to get the match over and done with."