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Rwanda thrown out African Cup for fielding player with 'two identities'

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CAIRO - Rwanda has been thrown out of the African Cup after one of its players was found to have "two identities" and was using a different name and a Congolese passport when playing for his club team, the Confederation of African Football said.

CAF said Sunday that striker Dady Birori was ineligible to play for Rwanda and disqualified the country from the African Cup qualifying competition for fielding him.

Birori, who CAF said is registered as Tady Etekiama when playing for Congo club AS Vita, was banned pending a hearing on Sept. 17 to decide his sanction. Africa's top football body said the Congo-born Birori was also using a different date of birth and Congolese nationality in his club documents.

"CAF established that the two identities only referred to a single person," Africa's top football body said.

CAF stripped Rwanda of its victory over Republic of Congo in the second round of African Cup qualifying this month with Republic of Congo now taking its place in the final round of qualifiers. Birori scored a hat-trick when Rwanda eliminated Libya in the first round of qualifying.

He has been playing for Rwanda since 2009 and represented it in qualifiers for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. Rwanda didn't qualify for either.

Rwanda is the third team to be disqualified in the 2015 African Cup qualifying competition. Equatorial Guinea was thrown out for fielding an ineligible player and Gambia was removed after being banned from all competitions for fielding overage players in a youth tournament qualifier. Two other countries, Eritrea and Seychelles, withdrew.

CAF called Birori to its headquarters in Cairo to testify last week before reaching its decision and banning him from all football. The African confederation said it would decide the length of Birori's ban next month and could "impose additional sanctions if necessary."

Republic of Congo was reinstated in the qualifiers and will face defending continental champion Nigeria, South Africa and Sudan in Group A. The final round will decide the 15 teams to join host Morocco at the African Cup of Nations finals in January and February.

Egyptian club Zamalek also appealed to CAF over Birori's eligibility after losing out to Kinshasa-based AS Vita for a place in the semifinals of the African Champions League tournament. CAF said Monday it would examine that complaint.

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