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AFC Leopards wait on FIFA intervention on Sissoko ITC

AFC Leopards' malian striker Mousa Sissoko in training. PHOTO/COURTESY
AFC Leopards’ malian striker Mousa Sissoko in training. PHOTO/COURTESY

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 19 – Kenyan Premier League side AFC Leopards are waiting on the FIFA player status committee’s ruling over the issuance of Malian striker Mousa Sissoko’s International Transfer Certificate (ITC).

The Malian Federation failed to issue the ITC on time before the July 2 deadline, when the Kenyan transfer window closed.

“The Malian FA told us they had issues with their Transfer Matching System (TMS) on the day they were to send back the ITC and have duly written to us to apologise and copied the same to FIFA. We are now waiting on what the player status committee will say. We did everything well and in time on our side and hopefully, this thing will be resolved and the player will be cleared soon,” AFC Leopards Secretary General Asava Kadima told Capital Sport.

Sissoko was signed by Leopards on loan until the end of the season from Malian giants AC Djoliba and has been training with the side since last Wednesday when he arrived in the country.

Head coach Ivan Minnaert had hoped he would be available for last weekend’s match against Mathare United and was hugely disappointed at his absence.

“I am disappointed because I don’t know what is happening. We have done everything on our end and in good time then the day before the match we are told he cannot play. I hope this thing can be resolved quick enough so we can have him,” Minnaert said.

AFC Leopards striker Mousa Sissoko in training alongside coach Ivan Minnaert. PHOTO/COURTESY
AFC Leopards striker Mousa Sissoko in training alongside coach Ivan Minnaert. PHOTO/COURTESY

While they wait on FIFA’s decision, the 13-time league champions might be headed to the world governing body again, this time on legal terms over another Malian signing, Ismaila Diarra.

The striker was signed from Rwandese side Rayon Sport and was expected in the country last week but has not been able to join in due to what has been termed as a technicality.

Capital Sport has learnt the striker might have signed a new contract with Rayon after his initial six month deal lapsed on June 30, despite having an agreement with Leopards already. Sources close from Rwanda also intimate the Rwandan FA might have cancelled Leopards’ request for the ITC.

“We also have information that he (Diarra) might have signed a new contract with Rayon. The level this has reached, it might turn out to be a legal case because we had a contract with him already. We are weighing up the issue to see the next course of action and if there’s no resolution, we will be forced to go to FIFA,” Kadima said.

He adds; “I am very disappointed with how Rayon is carrying out their business and it is quite unacceptable.”

Leopards had an agreement with Diarra to join the club after the completion of the Rwandese season.

Ingwe suffered an almost similar set back with Rwandese left back Emmanuel Imanishimwe whose case is now with the Rwandese FA (FERWAFA) after signing for three different clubs; APR, AFC Leopards and a new contract with Rayon.

“He (Emmanuel) is not serious and I don’t think I want to deal with him anymore,” Minnaert said of his former player at the Rwandese club.