DR Congo – Eleven Starters

DR Congo kick off their African Nations Cup campaign in Gabon today with a tough test against Morocco and for the first time they will wear their new O’Neills jerseys, specially designed for the Nations Cup campaign. Did you know…

DR Congo Opposition

Play Morocco, today, Ivory Coast on Friday and Togo next Tuesday. DR Congo qualified having won five out of their six qualifying matches.

Tournament Record – Twice Winners

Their tournament record is good having twice lifted the trophy. DR Congo, then known as Zaire won the African Nations in 1968 and 1974 and they came third in the last tournament.

Known as the Leopards

The Leopards have played in the Africa Cup of Nations 17 times. The Central African team is ranked 48 in the world by FIFA and managed by 55-year-old Jean Florent Ikwange Ibenge.

DR Congo Captain Fantastic Mulumbu

The captain of the team is Youssouf Mulumbu and the player to look out for is Hull City Striker Dieumerci Mbokani. They will miss Everton’s Yannick Bolasie who transferred from Crystal Palace in the region of £25 million is an exciting and dangerous forward. 

One of the Richest Countries in Africa

Did you know? DR Congo DRC has the potential to be one of the wealthiest countries in Africa. It has huge reserves of hydrocarbons, tropical timber, gem and minerals -- including a third of the world's cobalt reserves and 10 percent of its copper. These and other elements are essential for making mobile phones and electronic gadgets.

TP Mazembe – A Great African Club Side

CD Congo’s Tout Puissant Englebert, now TP Mazembe, were established in Lubumbashi in 1939 and grew to become one of the top club teams in Africa. In 1966, after civil war ended, they won the first Congolese championship. In the late sixties they reached four Champions Cup finals in a row, and winning two. Many of those players continued their upward spiral to play for the country in the1974 World Cup. TP Mazembe are known as Les Corbeaux (the Ravens)  despite their badge having a an image of a crocodile with a ball in its mouth. The team was founded by Benedictine Monks. Originally known as St George’s and then FC Engelbert, they adopted the name Tout Puissant meaning Almighty after finishing undefeated in winning their first league title in 1966.

Record Against Morocco

In previous African Nations Cup their record against Morocco is good - they have won once and draw three of the four matches between the sides.

Group C is the competition's Group of Death with Morocco, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Togo.

 

Venues

They play at Stade Oyem in northern Gabon on January 16 and 20 during the group stages. The final match against Togo (Jan 24) will be played at Stade Port Gentil in the second-largest city of Gabon.

Afobe Absent

They will be playing without Bournemouth strike Benik Afobe who has decided to remain with the premiership club to claim a first team starting slot.

Familiar Faces

However despite the loss of Yannick Bolasie following his cruciate injury the Leopards can call upon Hull’s Dieumerci Mbokani, Fulham’s Neeskens Kebano, Birmingham’s Jacques Maghoma, Newcastle’s Chancel Mbemba, Norwich’s Youssouf Mulumbu, Northampton Town’s Gabriel Zakuani, and Charlton’s Jordan Botaka.

Good Luck From O’Neills

If they can qualify from the group of death then their experience will be a massive help as they seek to surpass their third place in 2015.

From all in O'Neills we wish the Leopards of DR Congo every success.

DR Congo Players on Twitter

@YannickBolasie

@mbemba22

@neeskens_kebano

@mulumbuofficial

The new Democratic Republic of Congo jerseys are now available via the DRC webshop.