STUTTGART, Germany — Stuttgart's Congolese forward Silas Wamangituka has been playing under a false name and is a year older than previously thought.
The player, whose real name is Silas Katompa Mvumpa, informed the club recently he had been the victim of "machinations of his former agent" and that he was really 22 years old, Stuttgart said in a statement on Tuesday.
"I have lived in constant fear over the past few years and have also been very worried about my family in the Congo. It was a difficult step for me to reveal my story," Katompa Mvumpa said.
The discrepancy occurred when the Kinshasa-born Katompa Mvumpa was invited to a trial at age 18 by Belgian club Anderlecht in 2017. The club was interested in contracting him but advised him to return to the Democratic Republic of Congo before his visa expired and return after applying for a new one.
Katompa Mvumpa was 19 at the time, Stuttgart said. It added that an agent in Belgium told the player he would not be able to return to Europe if he left Belgium and returned to Congo.
"As Silas was very young, completely inexperienced and alone, he placed his trust in the agent, whom he knew from before in the Congo, and subsequently became completely dependent. 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 in a statement.
The club said the agent changed the player's identity and provided him with papers that identified him as Silas Wamangituka (one of his father's names) with a date of birth, Oct. 6, 1999, changed by exactly one year.
Stuttgart said it recently received new documents from Congo and it was in contact with local authorities about the matter. The German soccer federation has been informed and the club is assuming the player still has a valid license to play.
"Silas remains the player and the person who played his way into the hearts of our fans and his teammates since he's been here in Stuttgart. Regarding the name change, he is above all a victim. We will protect him accordingly," Stuttgart sporting director Sven Mislintat said.
Katompa Mvumpa scored 11 Bundesliga goals in 25 appearances last season, when he also captured attention with five assists. He joined Stuttgart from Paris FC in 2019.