TWO Burundi officials have been arrested after their town’s football team allegedly “roughed up” the country’s president.
President Pierre Nkurunziza often features in his own team’s – Haleluya FC – starting line up in games across his country.
Usually, his opposition are fully aware they are playing their president and no player dares to seriously take him on, according to the BBC.
But that was apparently not the case over the weekend during a game against the Northern town of Kiremba’s team.
Kiremba’s administrator Cyriaque Nkezabahizi and his deputy Michel Mutama were accused of recruiting Congolese refugees living in a camp in the town to play in the match who allegedly went hard on the President.
One witness said: “These Congolese obviously didn’t know President Nkurunziza because they roughed him up during the match, attacking each time he had the ball and making him fall several times while the Burundian players were careful not to get too close to him.”
Opposing players who know him usually go easy on the President during games and allow him to score.
The officials were imprisoned after being arrested on charges of “conspiracy against the president.”
The 54-year-old “born-again” evangelical Christian plays up to three matches a week and travels with his own choir – “Komeza gusenga” – which means “pray non-stop” in the local Kirundi language.
Nkurunziza built a 9,000-seat stadium in his home town as well as dozens others across the country.