DR Congo striker banned after politically incorrect goal celebration in Rwanda

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FOOTBALL DR Congo striker banned after politically incorrect goal celebration in Rwanda

Festus Chuma 13:30 - 14.02.2024

Congo striker has been suspended in Rwandan league after controversial goal celebration involving hand-to-mouth gesture.

Rayon Sports FC forward striker Heritier Nzinga Luvumbu has found himself in hot water after a controversial goal celebration during a match against Police FC in the Rwanda Premier League. 

The Rwanda Football Federation (FERWAFA) has suspended Luvumbu for six months from all football activities in Rwanda due to his display of political symbols, which violate the regulations set by local federations and international bodies such as the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and FIFA.

According to a statement released by FERWAFA's disciplinary committee, Luvumbu's celebration, which involved placing a hand on his mouth and two fingers on his temple, was interpreted as a gesture with political connotations.

 This gesture is associated with the manipulation of public opinion regarding the conflict in the Eastern Part of DR Congo, a tactic employed by Congolese leaders.

"The independent commission established by Ferwafa confirmed in a meeting that Heritier Nzinga Luvumbu will be punished with a six-month suspension from all football activities in Rwanda," the statement reads.

The decision to suspend the Congolese international underscores FERWAFA's commitment to upholding the integrity of the sport and ensuring that football remains free from political influence. 

"We have witnessed the continuation of awakening among our members. Please note that all laws and regulations governing football in Rwanda are to be complied with," the statement further emphasizes.

The suspension of Luvumbu comes at a time when the intersection of sports and politics has been a subject of heightened scrutiny.

During the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations semifinals, the DR Congo national team players staged a similar gesture during their match against Ivory Coast. 

The players held their right hands in front of their mouths and made the two-fingered gesture towards their temples while the national anthem played, sparking a debate on the appropriate boundaries between sports and political expression.

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