Top footballer accused of ‘moving birthday 4 years after mother’s death’

Gabon international Guelor Kanga has been cleared to continue playing for the Panthers by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) following confusion over the date and location of his birth.

The Red Star Belgrade forward, who has 46 caps to his name having made his debut in 2012, had been accused of playing under a false name by the Congolese Association Football Federation (FECOFA).

They allege that he is four years older than his Gabonese birth certificate states, that the Gabonese document says he was born four years after his mother had died, and that his name is Kiaku-Kiaku Kianga.

Kanga is officially 30 years old and was born in Oyem, Gabon, on September 1, 1990.

But FECOFA's allegation is that the player is Kiaku Kiaku Kiangana, who was born on October 5, 1985 in Kinshasa, DRC – and that his mother died in their country in 1986, and that he was born in Kinshasa in 1985.

CAF have now ruled that Kanga is eligible to play for Gabon, but FECOFA have confirmed that they will appeal that judgement in the hope that Gabon are disqualified from Africa Cup of Nations qualification.

CAF had informed Gabon of their investigation earlier this week, writing at the time: “We hereby inform you that CAF has opened an investigation into the case in question.

"You are kindly requested to send us your comments concerning the allegations mentioned in the correspondence of FECOFA in order to allow us to submit the complete file to the competent bodies of CAF."

Kanga played in each of Gabon's six 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches, helping them take four points from DR Congo, who failed to reach the tournament with a third place group finish.

However, the evidence FECOFA offered was not accepted by the governing body.

CAF have since said: "The proof offered by FECOFA was not convincing nor sufficient to establish [identify fraud]."

Fecofa will now launch an appeal with Caf's Appeal Panel and have three days to lodge it.

Red Star Belgrade said of their player: “He played in Russia and the Czech Republic and had no problems whatsoever.

"We see this information as a war between the two alliances over the African Cup of Nations, in which Kanga is collateral damage.

"We hope that the situation will be resolved as soon as possible in favour of Gelor Kanga."

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