German football club VfB Stuttgart say that their Congolese forward Silas Wamangituka has been playing under a false name and age.
The player’s real name has been revealed as Silas Katompa Mvumpa, and he is actually 22 years old, one year older than previously thought.
Katompa Mvumpa had recently informed the club that he had been the victim of “machinations of his former agent”.
The striker, who is a citizen of DR Congo, was born in Kinshasa in October 1998 and not 1999 as indicated on his false papers.
VfB Stuttgart has said that it would fully defend Katompa Mvumpa.
According to the German club, the discrepancy occurred when the player was invited to a trial by Belgian side Anderlecht in 2017.
Anderlecht were interested in signing the player, but advised him to return to DR Congo before his visa expired and return with a new application.
But Stuttgart have claimed that Katompa Mvumpa was told by an agent in Belgium that he would not be able to return to Europe if he returned to the African country.
“As Silas was very young, completely inexperienced and alone, he placed his trust in the agent, whom he knew from before in DR Congo, and subsequently became completely dependent,” the club said in a statement.
“He lived in Paris with the agent who largely cut him off from the outside. Silas had neither access to his account nor his papers at this time.”
Stuttgart said the agent had then changed the player’s identity and provided him with papers that identified him as Silas Wamangituka — one of his father’s names — and changed his birth year to 1999.
The German club said they were reviewing new documents from DR Congo and were in contact with local authorities about the matter.
Germany’s football federation has been informed, and Stuttgart are assuming that the player still has a valid licence to represent the club.
Stuttgart have said that his change of identity was intended to cut him off from certain contacts in Congo and make him vulnerable to blackmail.
“I have lived in constant fear over the last few years and have also been very worried about my family in Congo,” said Katompa Mvumpa.
“It was a hard step for me to reveal my story … I am very relieved and I hope that I can encourage other players who have had similar experiences with agents.”
“I am deeply grateful to VfB Stuttgart for all their trust and support during this time,” he added.
Katompa Mvumpa scored 11 Bundesliga goals in 25 appearances last season, and joined Stuttgart from FC Paris in 2019.