Celtic may act against Mulenga

2012-02-09 16:04
Clifford Mulenga (File)

Johannesburg - Bloemfontein Celtic could bring a disciplinary case against midfielder Clifford Mulenga after the player was kicked out of Zambia's Africa Cup of Nations squad last week.

Possible grounds for the hearing could include tarnishing the club's image after Mulenga was released from national duty for supposedly breaking team curfew.

There were also reports of disagreements between the player and Zambian national coach Herve Renard.

"We have heard his side of the story and now we are waiting for a report from the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ)," Celtic chief executive Khumbulani Konco said on Thursday.

Konco would not reveal further steps and punishment that could be taken by Celtic, or whether a new one-year contract, which was reported to have been signed by the player this week, could be jeopardised.

"We will wait for the report and take things from there," Konco said.

The Zambian media said Mulenga was expelled for a "serious breach of the [national] team's code of conduct".

He and three other unidentified national players apparently broke team curfew after the side's 1-0 win over co-hosts Equatorial Guinea in a group match two weeks ago.

This did not hamper Chipolopolo's dream run in the tournament, however, and they were set to contest the continental showpiece final with Ivory Coast in Gabon on Sunday.

Mulenga met with Celtic management on Tuesday to discuss the issue, with the FAZ report expected to guide Phunya Sele Sele on what steps can be taken.

"He gave us his side of the story and also apologised to the club about the incident," said Celtic coach Clinton Larsen.

"But as a club we have to wait for the Zambian FA to give us an official report before we can make any official report and decide if we are going to take any action.

"We are obviously also aware that you can't mix Zambian national team issues with Celtic issues."

Disciplinary problems have hampered the progress of Mulenga, the 2008 CAF African Young Player of the Year.

He resurrected his career with the Free State outfit in the current campaign after struggling in his spells at Bidvest Wits, Thanda Royal Zulu and Mpumalanga Black Aces.

"Whatever punishment that comes from Celtic's disciplinary committee will take into consideration his disciplinary record at Celtic, which has been very good," Larsen said.

"He has been valuable to the team and has not been late or missed training since he got here.

"There has not been any bad publicity in the last 24 months for the first time in his career."

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