Fifa has finally granted Giannelli Imbula permission to represent DR Congo at international level after a protracted delay in letting him switch allegiance.
The Stoke City midfielder, currently on loan at Lecce, is a former France U20 and U21 international and was similarly eligible to represent Belgium, the country of his birth.
Also authorized to represent DR Congo through his parents, Imbula was included in former coach Florent Ibenge’s provisional 32-man squad for this year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
However, the 27-year-old was left out of the final 23, owing to the delay in processing his paperwork.
With the green light finally given by football’s governing body, the midfielder will now join up with Christian Nsengi-Biembe’s squad of 26 players for their friendlies against Algeria and Ivory Coast on October 10 and 14, respectively.
Also included in Nsengi-Biembe’s side are the trio of Dieumerci Mbokani, Gael Kakuta and Neeskens Kebano, who were omitted from Ibenge’s Afcon squad.
The new trainer has left out no less than nine players who were involved at the continental showpiece, and they include goalkeeper Ley Matampi; defenders Djuma Shabani, Issama Mpeko and Bobo Ungenda; midfielders Tresor Mputu Mabi and Youssouf Mulumbu; strikers Britt Assombalonga, Jonathan Bolingi and Elia Lina Meschack.
The full squad
Goalkeepers: Parfait Mandanda (Royal Charleroi, Belgium), Anthony Mossi (Chiasso FC, Switzerland), Jackson Lunaga (AS Vita Club)
Defenders: Jordan Botaka (Sint-Truidense, Belgium), Jordan Ikoko (Ludogorets, Bulgaria), Christian Luyindama (Galatasaray, Turkey), Wilfred Moke (Ankaragucu, Turkey), Kelvin Mundeko (TP Mazembe), Marcel Tisserand (Wolfsburg, Germany), Chancel Mbemba (FC Porto, Portugal), Ava Dongo (AS Vita Club), Arthur Masuaku (West Ham United, England), Glody Ngonda (Dijon, France)
Midfielders: Merveille Bope and Paul-Jose Mpoku (Standard Liege, Belgium); Jacques Maghoma (Birmingham City, England), Edo Kayembe (Anderlecht, Belgium), Giannelli Imbula (Lecce, Italy), Samuel Moutoussamy (Nantes, France), Gael Kakuta (Amiens FC, France), Neeskens Kebano (Fulham, England)
Forwards: Chadrac Akolo (Amiens FC, France), Yannick Bolasie (Sporting Lisbon, Portugal), Dieumerci Mbokani (Royal Antwerp, Belgium), Cedric Bakambu (Beijing Guoan, China), Jackson Muleka (TP Mazembe)
By: Seye Omidiora
Photo Credit: Goal.com