RIP Mwepu Ilunga – Zaire 1974 World Cup Side’s Maverick Free-Kick Vigilante Passes Away Aged 66

By Chris Wright

Sad news is reaching us this morning that Mwepu Ilunga, the most famous member of Zaire’s esteemed 1974 World Cup side, has passed away at the age of 66 after a long illness.

Largely remembered for one moment of farcical madness, Ilunga actually enjoyed a fairly distinguished football career – winning two African championship titles with TP Mazembe as well as helping Zaire become the first sub-Saharan African nation to reach a World Cup.

He will be forever remembered as a man who steadfastly refused to play by the rules – quite literally – but specifically only while defending free-kicks against Brazil…

What a legacy, although the man himself swore blind that he was well aware of the regulations and instead hoofed the ball away in an attempt to get himself deliberately sent-off in protest of the then-Zaire president Joseph Mobutu retracting the players’ bonuses.

And what a kit too, by the way…


RIP Mwepu Ilunga, 1949-2015