DR Congo national football team

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The DR Congo national football team, recognised by FIFA as Congo DR (formerly known as Zaire, alternatively known as Congo-Kinshasa), represents DR Congo in men's international football and it is controlled by the Congolese Association Football Federation. They are nicknamed the Leopards.,[3] The team represents FIFA and Confederation of African Football (CAF).

Congo DR
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s)The Leopards
AssociationCongolese Association Football Federation
ConfederationCAF (Africa)
Sub-confederationUNIFFAC (Central Africa)
Head coachChristian Nsengi-Biembe
CaptainMarcel Tisserand
Most capsIssama Mpeko (71)
Top scorerDieumerci Mbokani (18)
Home stadiumStade des Martyrs
FIFA codeCOD
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 56 Steady (11 June 2020)[1]
Highest28 (July–August 2017)
Lowest133 (October 2011)
First international
Belgian Congo 3–2 Northern Rhodesia 
(Belgian Congo; 1948)
Biggest win
 DR Congo 10–1 Zambia 
(Kinshasa, Congo DR; 22 November 1969)
Biggest defeat
 Yugoslavia 9–0 Zaire 
(Gelsenkirchen, West Germany; 18 June 1974)
World Cup
Appearances1 (first in 1974)
Best resultGroup stage, 1974
Africa Cup of Nations
Appearances19 (first in 1965)
Best resultChampions, 1968 and 1974
African Nations Championship
Appearances4 (first in 2009)
Best resultChampions, 2009 and 2016

Congo DR have been ranked as high as 28 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.

HistoryEdit

Early historyEdit

The Congolese Association Football Federation was founded in 1919 when the country was not independent. The team played their first game in 1948 as Belgian Congo against Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia. The team recorded a 3–2 victory at home. DR Congo has been FIFA affiliated since 1962 and has been a member of CAF since 1963. The team's first official match was on 11 April 1963, against Mauritania in the L'Amitié Tournament played in Dakar, Senegal. DR Congo won the match 6–0.[4] The national team appeared in the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 1965.

Glory periodEdit

The Democratic Republic of the Congo had its first international success at the 1968 African Cup of Nations held in Ethiopia, beating Ghana 1–0 in the final. The team's biggest ever win came on 22 November 1969 when they recorded a 10–1 home victory against Zambia. Although a handful of Congolese players were playing in Europe (particularly Belgium) during these years, foreign-based players were seldom recalled for international duty; a rare exception was Julien Kialunda who represented Zaire (as the country was by then known) at the 1972 African Cup of Nations while playing for Anderlecht.

The second continental title came at the 1974 African Cup of Nations in Egypt. The Leopards recorded a 2–1 victory against Guinea, another 2–1 victory against rivals Congo and a 4–1 victory against Mauritius. These results carried Zaire through to the semi-finals where they beat hosts Egypt 3–2. In the final, Zaire drew with Zambia 2–2. Therefore, the match was replayed two days later, where Zaire won the game 2–0. Zaire player Ndaye Mulamba was top scorer with nine goals, which remains a record for the tournament. After this, the team returned to Zaire on the Presidential plane, lent to them by Mobutu Sese Seko.

Zaire were the first Sub-Saharan African team to participate in a World Cup, qualifying for the 1974 tournament in place of the 1970 participant Morocco, whom they defeated in the decisive qualifier 3–0 in Kinshasa.[5] Such was the desire to foster an identity of Zaire as a global player that Mobutu paid for advertising hoardings at the World Cup to display messages such as ‘Zaire-Peace’ and ‘Go to Zaire’.[6] At the tournament itself, Zaire did not manage to score any goals and lost all of its games, but gave credible performances against Scotland and Brazil. However, their 9–0 loss against Yugoslavia remains one of the worst World Cup defeats. A bizarre moment came in the match versus Brazil; facing a free-kick 25 yards out, defender Mwepu Ilunga, upon hearing the referee blow his whistle, ran out of the Zaire wall and kicked the ball upfield, for which he received a yellow card. This was voted the 17th greatest World Cup moment in a Channel 4 poll.[7] Ilunga has stated that he was quite aware of the rules and was hoping to convince the referee to send him off. The intended red card would have been a protest against his country's authorities, who were alleged to be depriving the players of their earnings.[8] Many contemporary commentators instead held it to be an example of African football's "naïvety and indiscipline".[9]

Crisis periodEdit

After winning the 1974 African Cup of Nations and participating in the 1974 World Cup, the team was eliminated in the first round of the 1976 African Cup of Nations after recording a draw and two losses in the group stage. Morocco went on to win the tournament. From 1978 to 1986, the country did not qualify for the African Cup of Nations, while not participating in qualification for the 1978 World Cup and 1986 World Cup. In the 1988 African Cup of Nations, Zaire finished last in their group despite having two draws.

Return to successEdit

From 1992 to 1996, Zaire, reached three consecutive African Cup of Nations quarter-finals. In 1992 and 1994, they were beaten by Nigeria, and in 1996 they were beaten by Ghana. In 1997, the country's name changed to DR Congo and the national team was re-branded as the Simbas, a nickname that stuck for the next nine years.[10] DR Congo played their first game on 8 June 1997 in Pointe-Noire which ended in a 1–0 loss to the Republic of the Congo. At the 1998 African Cup of Nations, DR Congo, led by Louis Watunda, surprisingly took third place, beating Cameroon in the quarter-finals and hosts Burkina Faso 4–1 on penalties in their last match after scoring three late goals to tie the encounter 4–4.

At the 2000 African Cup of Nations, the team finished third in their group, and in 2002 were eliminated in the quarter-finals by Senegal. Then, in 2004, DR Congo were eliminated after three straight defeats in the group stages. In 2006, led by Claude Le Roy, having finished second in the group behind Cameroon, the Congolese were eliminated in the quarter-finals by Egypt 4–1.

StrugglesEdit

DR Congo were drawn in group 10 for qualifications for the 2008 African Cup of Nations, along with Libya, Namibia and Ethiopia. Before the last match day, the Congolese led the group, but they drew 1–1 with Libya in their final match while Namibia beat Ethiopia 3–2. This sent Namibia through to the Finals, while the Leopards were eliminated. DR Congo also failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. In 2009, DR Congo won the 2009 African Championship of Nations, a competition reserved to players in domestic leagues, a tournament they would again win in 2016. DR Congo reached the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals in South Africa but were knocked out in the group stages after drawing all three matches.

The Ibengé era: rise and near World Cup missEdit

In the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, DR Congo again drew all three group matches but this time finished second in the group behind Tunisia, and therefore advanced to the quarter-finals to play their rivals Republic of Congo, a match in which the Leopards came from two goals down to win 4–2. However, they were knocked out by the Ivory Coast 3–1 in the semi-finals. They ended up finishing third, beating Equatorial Guinea on penalties, after the third place match finished 0–0 in regulation time.

DR Congo under Ibengé improved radically and had an outstanding performance for many decades in a World Cup qualification. During the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification, DR Congo was grouped with Libya, Tunisia and Guinea. DR Congo managed an outstanding performance, beating Libya and Guinea home and away, but missed the chance after losing 1–2 to eventual World Cup qualifier Tunisia in Tunis and drew 2–2 at home to the same opponent.

PlayersEdit

Current squadEdit

The following players have been selected for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualification against Gabon on 23 and 31 March 2020 .[11] Matches were, anyway, later postponed.

Caps and goals as of 18 November 2019, after the match against Gambia.[12]

No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1GK Anthony Mossi (1994-05-15) 15 May 1994 (age 26) 6 0   FC Wil
1GK Joël Kiassumbua (1992-04-06) 6 April 1992 (age 28) 5 0   Servette
1GK Jackson Lunanga (1997-04-05) 5 April 1997 (age 23) 0 0   Vita Club

2DF Issama Mpeko (1986-03-03) 3 March 1986 (age 34) 71 1   Mazembe
2DF Marcel Tisserand (1993-01-10) 10 January 1993 (age 27) 23 0   VfL Wolfsburg
2DF Bobo Ungenda (1989-11-19) 19 November 1989 (age 30) 12 0   1º de Agosto
2DF Fabrice N'Sakala (1990-07-21) 21 July 1990 (age 29) 11 0   Alanyaspor
2DF Arthur Masuaku (1993-11-07) 7 November 1993 (age 26) 8 1   West Ham United
2DF Luete Ava Dongo (1996-01-23) 23 January 1996 (age 24) 2 0   Antwerp
2DF Amale Mukoko (1998-10-17) 17 October 1998 (age 21) 1 0   DCMP
2DF Axel Disasi (1998-03-11) 11 March 1998 (age 22) 0 0   Reims

3MF Chancel Mbemba (1994-08-08) 8 August 1994 (age 25) 55 4   Porto
3MF Paul-José M'Poku (1992-04-19) 19 April 1992 (age 28) 20 6   Al Wahda
3MF Gaël Kakuta (1991-06-21) 21 June 1991 (age 29) 7 1   Amiens
3MF Miché Mika (1996-09-16) 16 September 1996 (age 23) 6 0   Mazembe
3MF Luamba Ngoma (1994-01-22) 22 January 1994 (age 26) 6 0   Raja Casablanca
3MF Jody Lukoki (1992-11-15) 15 November 1992 (age 27) 3 0   Ludogorets
3MF Samuel Moutoussamy (1996-08-12) 12 August 1996 (age 23) 3 0   Nantes
3MF Edo Kayembe (1998-08-03) 3 August 1998 (age 21) 1 0   Anderlecht
3MF Jonathan Ifunga Ifasso (1999-03-10) 10 March 1999 (age 21) 0 0   Raja Casablanca
3MF Glodi Likonza (1998-05-10) 10 May 1998 (age 22) 0 0   Mazembe

4FW Yannick Bolasie (1989-05-24) 24 May 1989 (age 31) 42 9   Sporting CP
4FW Cédric Bakambu (1991-04-11) 11 April 1991 (age 29) 29 13   Beijing Guoan
4FW Jordan Botaka (1993-06-24) 24 June 1993 (age 27) 19 4   Sint-Truiden
4FW Jackson Muleka (1999-10-04) 4 October 1999 (age 20) 4 1   Mazembe
4FW Ben Malango (1993-09-10) 10 September 1993 (age 26) 2 1   Raja Casablanca
4FW Isaac Tshibangu (2003-05-17) 17 May 2003 (age 17) 0 0   Mazembe
4FW Beni Badibanga (1996-02-19) 19 February 1996 (age 24) 0 0   Waasland-Beveren

Recent call-upsEdit

The following players have been called up for DR Congo in the last 12 months.

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up
GK Timothy Fayulu (1999-07-24) 24 July 1999 (age 20) 0 0   Sion v.   Gambia, 18 November 2019
GK Parfait Mandanda (1989-10-10) 10 October 1989 (age 30) 20 0   Charleroi v.   Ivory Coast, 13 October 2019

DF Ngonda Muzinga (1994-12-31) 31 December 1994 (age 25) 14 0   Dijon v.   Gambia, 18 November 2019
DF Christian Luyindama (1994-01-08) 8 January 1994 (age 26) 13 0   Galatasaray v.   Gambia, 18 November 2019
DF Wilfred Moke (1988-02-12) 12 February 1988 (age 32) 12 0   Ankaragücü v.   Gambia, 18 November 2019
DF Jordan Ikoko (1994-02-03) 3 February 1994 (age 26) 8 0   Ludogorets v.   Gambia, 18 November 2019
DF Kévin Mondeko (1995-09-10) 10 September 1995 (age 24) 1 0   Mazembe v.   Ivory Coast, 13 October 2019

MF Neeskens Kebano (1992-03-10) 10 March 1992 (age 28) 24 5   Fulham v.   Gambia, 18 November 2019
MF Chadrac Akolo (1995-04-01) 1 April 1995 (age 25) 10 1   Amiens v.   Gambia, 18 November 2019
MF Giannelli Imbula (1992-09-12) 12 September 1992 (age 27) 2 0   Sochi v.   Gambia, 18 November 2019
MF Jacques Maghoma (1987-10-23) 23 October 1987 (age 32) 27 1   Birmingham City v.   Ivory Coast, 13 October 2019
MF Merveille Bokadi (1996-05-21) 21 May 1996 (age 24) 24 1   Standard Liège v.   Ivory Coast, 13 October 2019

FW Jonathan Bolingi (1994-06-30) 30 June 1994 (age 26) 29 8   Antwerp v.   Gambia, 18 November 2019
FW Dieumerci Ndongala (1991-06-14) 14 June 1991 (age 29) 1 0   Genk v.   Gambia, 18 November 2019
FW Nelson Balongo (1999-04-15) 15 April 1999 (age 21) 0 0   Sint-Truidense v.   Gambia, 18 November 2019
FW Dieumerci Mbokani (1985-11-22) 22 November 1985 (age 34) 41 18   Royal Antwerp v.   Ivory Coast, 13 October 2019

INJ Player withdrew from the squad due to an injury.
PRE Preliminary squad.
RET Player has retired from international football.
SUS Suspended from the national team.

RecordsEdit

Most capped playersEdit

As of 18 November 2019[13]
Players in bold are still active, at least at club level.
# Name International Career Caps Goals
1. Issama Mpeko 2011– 71 1
2. Robert Kidiaba 2002–2015 64 0
3. Chancel Mbemba 2013– 55 4
4. Zola Matumona 2002–2014 53 9
5. Trésor Mputu 2004– 52 14
6. Kimemba Mbayo 1996–2011 50 4
7. Ndombe Mubele 2013– 45 9
Youssouf Mulumbu 2008– 45 1
9. Lakuya Mbuta 1996–2010 44 3
Tsholola Tshinyama 2001–2012 44 1

Top goalscorersEdit

As of 6 December 2019[14]
Players in bold are still active, at least at club level.
# Name International Career Goals Caps
1. Dieumerci Mbokani 2005– 18 41
2. Trésor Mputu 2004– 14 52
Shabani Nonda 2000–2008 14 22
4. Cédric Bakambu 2015– 13 29
Jean-Jacques Yemweni 2000–2007 12 16
6. Ngoy Kabongo 1981–1991 10 21
Ndaye Mulamba 1973–1976 10 20
8. Ndombe Mubele 2013– 9 45
Yannick Bolasie 2013– 9 42
10 Jonathan Bolingi 2014– 8 29

Recent schedule and resultsEdit

The following is a list of match results from the previous 12 months, as well as any future matches that have been scheduled.

  Win   Draw   Loss   Postponed

2019Edit

22 June 2019 AFCONDR Congo  0–2  UgandaCairo, Egypt
16:30 Report Kaddu   14'
Okwi   48'
Stadium: Cairo International Stadium
Attendance: 1,083
Referee: Rédouane Jiyed (Morocco)
26 June 2019 AFCONEgypt  2–0  DR CongoCairo, Egypt
22:00 A. El Mohamady   25'
Salah   43'
Report Stadium: Cairo International Stadium
Referee: Victor Gomes (South Africa)
30 June 2019 AFCONZimbabwe  0–4  DR CongoCairo, Egypt
21:00 Report Bolingi   4'
Bakambu   34'65' (pen.)
Assombalonga   78'
Stadium: 30 June Stadium
Referee: Mustapha Ghorbal (Algeria)
7 July 2019 AFCONMadagascar  2–2 (a.e.t.)
(4–2 p)
  DR CongoAlexandria, Egypt
18:00 Amada   9'
Andriatsima   77'
Report Bakambu   21'
Mbemba   90'
Stadium: Alexandria Stadium
Referee: Noureddine El Jaafari (Morocco)
Penalties
18 September FriendlyDR Congo  2–3  RwandaKinshasa, DR Congo
19:00 Report Stadium: Stade des Martyrs
10 October FriendlyAlgeria  1–1  DR CongoBlida, Algeria
21:00 (CET) Slimani   6' Report Bakambu   26' Stadium: Mustapha Tchaker Stadium
13 October FriendlyIvory Coast  3–1  DR CongoAmiens, France
19:00 Kanon   22'
Pépé   44'
Zaha   90+6'
Report Akolo   64' Stadium: Stade de la Licorne
Referee: Benoît Millot (France)
14 November 2019 (2019-11-14) 2021 AFCONQDR Congo  0–0  GabonKinshasa, DR Congo
20:00 UTC+1 Stadium: Stade des Martyrs
18 November 2019 (2019-11-18) 2021 AFCONQGambia  2–2  DR CongoBakau, Gambia
16:00 UTC±0
Stadium: Independence Stadium

2020Edit

23 March 2020 (2020-03-23) 2021 AFCONQDR Congo  Postponed  Angola
--:-- UTC+1
31 March 2020 (2020-03-31) 2021 AFCONQAngola  Postponed  DR Congo
--:-- UTC+1
1 June 2020 (2020-06-01) 2021 AFCONQGabon  v  DR Congo
--:-- UTC+1
31 August 2020 (2020-08-31) 2021 AFCONQDR Congo  v  Gambia
--:-- UTC+1

Competitive recordEdit

FIFA World CupEdit

FIFA World Cup record FIFA World Cup qualification record
Year Round Position Pld W D* L GF GA Pld W D L GF GA
  1930 Did not enter Declined participation
  1934
  1938
  1950
  1954
  1958
  1962
  1966
  1970
  1974 Group stage 16th 3 0 0 3 0 14 11 8 1 2 20 4
  1978 Withdrew Withdrew
  1982 Did not qualify 4 2 1 1 6 9
  1986 Banned Banned
  1990 Did not qualify 6 2 2 2 7 7
  1994 3 0 1 2 1 3
  1998 8 2 2 4 11 10
    2002 10 4 2 4 17 18
  2006 10 4 4 2 14 10
  2010 6 3 0 3 14 6
  2014 8 3 3 2 11 5
  2018 8 6 1 1 20 10
  2022 To be determined To be determined
      2026
Total Group stage 1/21 3 0 0 3 0 14 74 34 17 23 121 82

Africa Cup of NationsEdit

Africa Cup of Nations
Titles: 2
Appearances: 19
Year Round Position Pld W D* L GF GA
  1957 Part of   Belgium
  1959
  1962 Not affiliated to CAF
  1963
Played as   Congo-Léopoldville
  1965 Group stage 5th 2 0 0 2 2 8
Played as   Congo-Kinshasa
  1968 Champions 1st 5 4 0 1 10 2
  1970 Group stage 7th 3 0 1 2 2 5
Played as   Zaire
  1972 Fourth place 4th 5 1 2 2 9 11
  1974 Champions 1st 6 4 1 1 14 8
  1976 Group stage 7th 3 0 1 2 3 6
  1978 Did not enter
  1980 Did not qualify
  1982
  1984 Withdrew
  1986 Did not qualify
  1988 Group stage 7th 3 0 2 1 2 3
  1990 Did not qualify
  1992 Quarter-finals 6th 3 0 2 1 2 3
  1994 Quarter-finals 7th 3 1 1 1 2 3
  1996 Quarter-finals 8th 3 1 0 2 2 3
Played as   DR Congo
  1998 Third place 3rd 6 3 1 2 10 9
    2000 Group stage 12th 3 0 2 1 0 1
  2002 Quarter-finals 6th 4 1 1 2 3 4
Played as   DR Congo
  2004 Group stage 15th 3 0 0 3 1 6
  2006 Quarter-finals 8th 4 1 1 2 3 6
Played as   DR Congo
  2008 Did not qualify
  2010
    2012
  2013 Group stage 10th 3 0 3 0 3 3
  2015 Third place 3rd 6 1 4 1 7 7
  2017 Quarter-finals 6th 4 2 1 1 7 5
  2019 Round of 16 14th 4 1 1 2 6 6
  2021 To be determined
  2023
  2025
Total 2 Titles 19/32 73 20 24 29 88 99

African Nations Championship recordEdit

African Nations Championship
Appearances: 4
Year Round Position Pld W D* L GF GA
  2009 Champions 1st 5 3 1 1 7 5
  2011 Quarter-finals 8th 4 1 1 2 3 5
  2014 7th 4 2 0 2 3 3
  2016 Champions 1st 6 4 1 1 14 7
  2018 Did not qualify
  2020 To be determined
  2022
Total Champions 4/5 19 10 3 6 27 20

African GamesEdit

Football at the African Games has been an under-23 tournament since 1991.
African Games record
Year Result GP W D L GS GA
  1965 - 0 0 0 0 0 0
  1973 - 0 0 0 0 0 0
  1978 - 0 0 0 0 0 0
  1987 - 0 0 0 0 0 0
1991–present See DR Congo national under-23 football team
Total 4/4 0 0 0 0 0 0

List of coachesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking". FIFA. 11 June 2020. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  2. ^ Elo rankings change compared to one year ago. "World Football Elo Ratings". eloratings.net. 2 April 2020. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  3. ^ "BBC SPORT | WORLD CUP | History | 1974: Zaire's show of shame". BBC News. 22 May 2002. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  4. ^ Courtney, Barrie (14 June 2007). "DR Congo (Zaire, Congo-Kinshasa) – List of International matches". FRSSF. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  5. ^ "Leopards roar to Germany 1974". FIFA.com. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  6. ^ "More than a game? Mobutu, Sport and Zairian Identity, 1965-1974" (PDF). Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  7. ^ "Explore". Channel 4. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  8. ^ "BBC Sport – Football – Zaire free-kick farce explained". BBC News. 28 May 2010. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  9. ^ "The Joy of Six: Symbolic reducers, including Roy Keane, Norman Whiteside and Benjamin Massing | Football". London: theguardian.com. 23 July 2007. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  10. ^ "Football Team Nicknames". topendsports.com. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  11. ^ https://actualite.cd/2020/03/06/elim-can-2021-likonza-mika-ngoma-malango-et-tshibangu-sur-la-premiere-liste-de-nsengi
  12. ^ https://www.besoccer.com/match/gambia/rd-congo
  13. ^ Roberto Mamrud. "Congo-Kinshasa – Record International Players". RSSSF. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  14. ^ Roberto Mamrud. "Congo-Kinshasa – Record International Players". RSSSF. Retrieved 28 May 2018.

External linksEdit