Team Profile: DR Congo

Nickname: The Leopards
Association formed: 1948
Previous Afcon Appearances: 17 (1965, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1988, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2013, 2015)
Best result: Champions (1968, 1974)
Coach: Florent Ibenge
Leading scorers: all-time –Dieumerci Mbokani (18)
Most appearances: all-time –Joël Kimwaki (52)
FIFA ranking: 48 (4th in CAF)

THE BIG QUESTION
They shocked Ghana in 1968 to win the trophy and in 1974 pulled another surprise when they defeated Guinea to win the title for the second time. Since then, the glory period has been far from them until 2015 when they finished third through penalties. Could this yearbe theirs and lift the trophy again after almost 43 years of trying?

WHO ARE THEY?
The Dr Congo national football team represents Dr Congo in international association football and has done so since 1948. DR Congo have been ranked as high as 46 in the FIFA Rankings. As Zaire they were the first Sub-Saharan African team to qualify for the FIFA World Cup and twice won the Africa Cup of Nations.

TOP THREE PLAYERS
Dieumerci Mbokani: The dread-locked striker is the main man to get the goals for the Leopards. Regardless of his club struggles, he always turns on the style whenever he files out to play for his national team, and this tournament shouldn’t be an exception for the gifted striker who has an impressive goal ratio of nearly 0.5 goals per game.

Jordan Botaka: A likely straight forward replacement for the injured Yannick Bolasie, the exciting 23-year-old should set the tournament alight with his speed and breath-taking skills.

Chancel Mbemba: Young central defender who has plied his trade for the last two seasons in the demanding English league, initially starting off in the Premier League before suffering relegation to the Championship. Chancel is a leader at the back and his command of the area should serve as the building block for a solid defensive team performance.

HOW THEY QUALIFIED
Congo finished top of their qualification Group B, impressively securing five wins and losing just onc.e They scored 16 goals and conceded six in the process, and they must have the feel-good feeling heading into a tournament where they shouldn’t lack any support due to proximity to their home country.

FULL 23-MAN SQUAD AFCON

GOALKEEPERS: Nicaise Mulopo Kudimbana (Royal Antwerp, Belgium), Ley Matampi (TP Mazembe), Joel Kiassumbua (FC Wohlen, Switzerland)

DEFENDERS: Chancel Mbemba (Newcastle, England), Gabriel Zakuani (Northampton Town, England), Issama Mpeko (Kabuscorp, Angola), Joyce Lomalisa (Vita Club), Vital N’Simba (Bourg-Péronnas, France), Fabrice N’Sakala (Alanyaspor, Turkey), Chris Luyindama and Merveille Bope (TP Mazembe), Jordan Ikoko (Guingamp, France), Marcel Tisserand (Ingolstadt, Germany)

MIDFIELDERS: Youssouf Mulumbu (Norwich, England), Neeskens Kebano (Fulham, England), Rémy Mulumba (Ajaccio, France), Hervé Kage (Kortrijk, Belgium), Jacques Maghoma (Birmingham City, England), Paul-José M’Poku (Panathinaikos, Greece), Jonathan Bijimine (Cordoba, Spain), Wilson Kamavuaka (Panetolikos, Greece)

FORWARDS: Cédric Bakambu (Villarreal, Spain), Dieumerci Mbokani (Hull City, England), Firmin Mubele Ndombe (Vita Club), Junior Kabananga (Astana, Kazakhstan), Jordan Botaka (Charlton Athletic, England), Meschack Elia and Jonathan Bolingi (TP Mazembe), Ricky Tulengi (DCMP), Jeremy Bokila (Al-Kharitiyath, Qatar)

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