FA mistake prevented Benik Afobe making DR Congo debut

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Making your international debut is a career highlight for any player.

To some, being able to represent your country can be the pinnacle of your career and it is the moment many dream of growing up.

Well imagine building yourself up for that moment, only for it to be taken away for one of the stupidest reasons you are likely to hear.

Benik Afobe was all geared up to make his first appearance for the Democratic Republic of Congo last week after switching his allegiance from England.

Having represented the nation where he was born at Under-21 level, Afobe needed the FA to send over some paperwork to be allowed to represent the senior team of where his parents were born - DR Congo.

Sounds simple enough right?

Apparently not, because instead of sending Afobe's registration documents to DR Congo, they went to the Republic of Congo, oops...

Admittedly, the two countries are neighbours but unfortunately for Afobe, are two entirely different nations.

"Basically, the FA sent my paperwork to the wrong Congo," said Afobe, as per the Daily Mail.

"Transferring it took about 10 days and once Fifa had cleared their workload with all the internationals on around the world, it was the day after the World Cup qualifier against Guinea."

The trip to Africa wasn't completely wasted, however, as it gave the Bournemouth forward a chance to become familiar with the conditions and his new teammates which include Yannick Bolasie and Youssouf Mulumbu, among several others based in England.

Afobe added: "In order for me to get used to the squad and the conditions, it was worth making the trip and the team won 2-1."

"I was disappointed not to play at the time, but the main thing is returning to the club injury-free.

"Club always comes before country and right now, I want to be available for Bournemouth as much as possible."

Afobe's national team switch does mean there is a chance he could be called up to play in the African Cup of Nations at the start of 2017.

The tournament, which runs from mid-January to early February, will leave many Premier League teams short of key players during a critical period of the domestic campaign.

Afobe has featured for Bournemouth on ten occasions already this season but is yet to find the back of the net.

Cherries boss Eddie Howe can take some consolation in the fact he still has a couple of months to prepare for his striker's absence - providing he is actually called up and there aren't any more ridiculous paperwork mishaps of course.

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Jack Wilshere
England Football
Premier League

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