Lusaka: Three influential Zambian national football team players will face disciplinary action if they fail to fly to China and play in a friendly game against Brazil Tuesday.
The three players, Nathan Sinkala, Rainford Kalaba and Stopilla Sunzu, were in the country Saturday where a representative of their Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) team TP Mazembe displayed them before the media, alleging that they were not fit to play because two of them had malaria while the other one had an injury.
But Minister of Sports and Youths Chishimba Kwambwili said he talked to one of the players who assured them that they were fit to play and were only being held by their team.
The Zambian minister said disciplinary measures will be taken against the players should they fail to travel to China for the international friendly match, reports Xinhua.
"We are also going to take punitive measures against the boys if they don`t travel to China. This kind of behaviour is unacceptable. Patriotism must be above money; those boys owe everything to the country and cannot snub us like this. That is a paid-for friendly and the condition to that friendly is that Zambia brings the strongest team," he was quoted as saying by a daily.
The minister is further incensed that the players, who were in the country, sneaked out to their base in the DRC without following immigration regulations and has since called for the arrest of a Zambian-based TP Mazembe official who facilitated their sneaking out.
The Zambian authorities have since reported the problem over the release of the players to FIFA who have threatened the DRC side with punitive action.
Zambia will play Brazil in Beijing.