LUBUMBASHI: Zambia has issued arrest warrants for three of its own international players because they refused to travel with the rest of the national squad for a 2-0 friendly defeat by Brazil in China.

DR Congo club TP Mazembe insisted Rainford Kalaba, Stoppila Sunzu and Nathan Sinkala were injured, leading to a dispute with the Zambian FA and the involvement of the Zambian government.

After examining the players in Lusaka, the Zambian FA said they should still travel to Beijing, but Mazembe requested their return.

That led to the intervention of the Zambian government which took away the players’ passports so they could not go back to their club in Lubumbashi.

However, the players managed to cross the border between the countries and are believed to be back in DR Congo.

The Zambian FA has written to football’s world governing body Fifa, complaining that Mazembe did not release their players as they are required to do for international dates.

Zambia lost the match in Beijing thanks to goals from Oscar and Dede in the countries’ first ever meeting.

The 2012 Africa Cup of Nations champions were playing their first game under 35-year-old interim coach Patrice Beaumelle, who took over eight days ago after Herve Renard left the job.

Zambia failed to qualify for next year’s World Cup having been eliminated from qualifying at the group stage.