(Reuters) Zambia strike Emmanuel Mayuka has been allowed to stay in Africa for another week by his Swiss club Young Boys Berne after helping his country to their stunning African Nations Cup win.
FIFA regulations say players should return to their clubs 48 hours after ending their participation with their national team, but Young Boys said they were happy to be flexible even though they face league leaders FC Basel on Thursday.
The second-placed club said they were also worried about subjecting the 21-year-old to sub-zero temperatures days after he played in the heat and humidity of tropical Gabon.
“In view of the historic triumph, the club has decided to allow Mayuka to take part this week in the celebrations in his homeland,” said Young Boys on their website (www.bscyb.ch).
“The match against Basel will take place in completely different conditions to the ones in Africa,” it added.
Mayuka scored three goals in the tournament and is the only player of the Zambian squad based with a first-division European club.
Unrated Zambia beat Ivory Coast on penalties after a 0-0 draw in Sunday’s final in Libreville to win the cup for the first time, playing a few kilometres from the scene of an air crash which killed 18 of their national team players in 1993.
Unlike some European clubs, who complain at having to release players, Young Boys have backed Mayuka throughout, describing the player at one point last week as “the best advertisement for the club”.
Young Boys signed Mayuka from Maccabi Tel Aviv 18 months ago, on the recommendation of club scout and former Swiss striker Stephane Chapusiat, for some 1.3 million Swiss francs ($1.41 million).
Swiss media have speculated that the player’s current value is around 13 million francs although the club are not in a rush to sell.
“We need to take it step by step,” said club president Ilja Kaenzig.