Giunea Bissau can now prepare well for the upcoming 2017 African cup of Nations in Gabon.This is after the Organising Committee for the Africa Cup of Nations ruled on Monday, 22 August 2016 on a protest by Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) on the eligibility of Papa Massa Mbaye Fall for Guinea Bissau by concluding that Article 7 (c) of the Regulations Governing the Application of the Statutes has been fulfilled.
The FAZ protested the eligibility of Mbaye Fall in their AFCON 2017 Group E Day 5 qualifier between Guinea Bissau and Zambia played on Saturday, 4 June 2016 in Bissau which the former won 3-2.
According to FAZ, the player presented a brand new passport without any stamp indicating date of entry to Guinea Bissau and has previously played for the Senegal national team since 6 May 2014, which contravenes Articles 5 to 8 of the Regulations Governing the Application of the Statutes, hence praying on the committee to award them the three points since Guinea Bissau fielded an “illegal player”.
However, investigations by CAF revealed that Mbaye Fall who has previously played for clubs in Spain (Ciudad Vicar – 2008/2009, Las Norias FC – 2009/2010 & A.D. Polideportivo Aquadulce Club – 2014/2015) and Germany (Union Meppen – 2013/2014) never played with the Senegal national team nor was he registered with the Senegalese Football Federation (FSF) as evidence by a letter from the latter on 10 June 2016.
On the other hand, the Guinea Bissau Football Federation provided CAF with documents for the player which included: His birth certificate, his local ID, his current Passport, his residential certificate stating that the player resides in Guinea Bissau since 23 April 2009. Guinea Bissau FA further provided proof that one of the grandmothers’ of the player, named Ngone Kane Diouf, was born in Guinea Bissau
Based on the above, the Committee decided that:
“1. In relation to the passport copies, ID cards, and other official documentation received for the player, the relevant authorities of the Republic of Guinea Bissau issued those documents. Hence CAF cannot dispute their authenticity.
2. The fact that the passport was issued on 1 June 2016, few days prior to the match played on 4 June 2016 against Zambia, does not change its validity.
3. In relation to the articles of the Regulations Governing the Application of the Statutes, article 6 does not apply in this case, since the player was never registered with the Senegal FA, hence this case is not about a change of association.
4. In relation to article 7 of the application of the Regulations Governing the Application of the Statutes which is about Acquisition of a new nationality and states: “Any player who refers to art. 5 par.1 to assume a new nationality and who has not played international football in accordance with art. 5 par.2 shall be eligible to play for the new representative team only if he fulfils one of the following conditions:
a) He was born on the territory of the relevant association;
b) His biological mother or biological father was born on the territory of the relevant association;
c) His grandmother or grandfather was born on the territory of the relevant association;
d) He has lived continuously for at least five years after reaching the age of 18 on the territory of the relevant association”.
The Committee established that the player does not fulfil criteria 7.a), and 7.b) above, since Guinea Bissau FA itself recognized that the player was born in Dakar, and that his parents were not born in Guinea Bissau.
“In terms of the clause 7.d), it requires that the player must have lived continuously for at least five years after reaching the age of 18 on the territory of the relevant association. The player has been resident in Guinea Bissau since April 2009, but he did play football abroad in Spain and Germany since then.
“In terms of clause 7.c), the Committee believes that Guinea Bissau FA fulfils this requirement since they have established that one of the grandmothers of the player,
Ngone Kane Diouf is from Guinea Bissau.