World Cup Moments: Zaire protest during free kick

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5 Days Zaire protest free kick Mwepa ‘gives it the boot’, 1974

We often hear the story of how Zaire went to the 1974 World Cup and proved they did not know much about soccer by running out on a free kick. But, that is not the case. The story is often overlooked and told incorrectly due to its political rebel stance.

Mwepu Ilunga was a professional footballer, of course, he knew all the rules of the game and how to play, including how a free kick is meant to take place. He has often told why he ran out and kicked the ball away and we always feel sad when we see stories that overlook this and rather mock Zaire.

he had planned this as a protest to the authorities back home who denied the footballers any payment for the entire tournament. He claimed that the President had threatened them to face dire consequences if they were to lose against Brazil by more than 3 goals