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AFCON 2023 (Q) - Patrice Neveu: "DR Congo is a dangerous opponent".

Patrice Neveu parle de Gabon vs RD Congo CAN 2023
AFCON 2023 (Q) - Patrice Neveu: "DR Congo is a dangerous opponent".

A win over DR Congo and Gabon will qualify for the CAF Africa Cup of Nations in Côte d'Ivoire, even before their trip to Mauritania in September. Before flying out to Franceville on Wednesday, Patrice Neveu, the Panthers' French coach, spoke about the match and the training camp in the Oise region, which saw the return of Aubameyang and Lemina.

How did the first part of Gabon's training camp go?

We worked well. I was with the squad from 7 June, near Chantilly. Most of the time there were two work sessions a day. Muscle work, aerobics and on the pitch. The team played a friendly match against Saint-Quentin (National 2), which they won 7-0. It's always good to win a friendly before an important game. I was able to see some of the players and their state of fitness after a busy season, and try out a few things. It's good for confidence, but you can't just focus on the result.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mario Lemina returned to the squad during the training camp, just over a year after announcing their international retirement...

Yes, but in fact it felt like we'd only left them three months ago! They know the Gabonese national team very well and their return was very simple and easy. They're back and that's obviously very good news. The presence of two top players can only be beneficial. They want to help Gabon qualify for the African Cup of Nations, and they've shown a lot of commitment and seriousness. Pierre-Emerick scored two goals against Saint-Quentin.

On Sunday, the opposition will be totally different. What do you know about the Congolese team?

We left France on Wednesday morning by private plane to fly directly to Franceville. That meant we arrived in Libreville on Wednesday evening, without a stopover, and we had three days to work before the match. The DRC hasn't been the same since Sébastien Desabre arrived. The Congolese team has regained its confidence, it has produced results in recent months, and it will be a dangerous opponent.

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