The Confederation of African Football upheld a decision to throw Rwanda out of the African Cup for fielding an ineligible player, saying the country's federation knew that striker Dady Birori had a "double identity" and was using different names and passports for club and international games.
CAF announced its decision to uphold the disqualification over the weekend after Rwanda appealed. The appeal was heard last Wednesday.
Africa's football body ruled that while representing Rwanda as a naturalized player, Congo-born Birori was registered under a different name — Tady Etekiama — and using a different, Congolese passport and a different date of birth with Congo club AS Vita.
The Rwandan federation knew and committed "fraud" by playing Birori, CAF said in its latest ruling, and was disqualified from the final round of African Cup of Nations qualifiers starting this week.
"Based on the documents on record, it was evident that the Rwandan federation was aware of this double identity but proceeded to feature the player for the national team," CAF said.
CAF upheld the sanction handed out last month by its own 2015 African Cup organizing committee. Rwanda was replaced by Republic of Congo, which lost to the Rwandans in the last round of qualifiers. Republic of Congo goes through to the final round, where it will face Nigeria, South Africa and Sudan in one of seven groups.
Libya reportedly complained after it was eliminated by Rwanda in an earlier African Cup qualifying stage, when Birori scored a hat trick in a 3-0 win in May. However, CAF took no action then.
Birori has played for Rwanda since 2009 and represented it in qualifiers for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. Rwanda has never qualified for the World Cup and made its only appearance at the African Cup finals in 2004.