, , ,

AFCON 2023: Top and flop stories from DR Congo

CAN 2023 RD Congo
AFCON 2023: Top and flop stories from DR Congo

The DRC finished just off the podium at AFCON 2023. An unexpected result for a young squad, 87% of whom are new to the competition. Several players performed brilliantly, while others failed to live up to expectations.

After missing out on the AFCON 2021 in Cameroon, the DRC made a remarkable comeback at Africa's biggest soccer festival. The Leopards finished the competition in 4th place.

Competition highlights

The Leopards' success was down to the self-sacrifice of all their players, but above all to the remarkable performances of some of them. In particular, the experienced Chancel Mbemba. Captain of the team for his 5th AFCON, he was a true leader of the troupe and one of the great stars of the competition. Clinical in his interventions, the Marseillais also contributed to several of the DR Congo's attacking moves. The only downside was that he missed the decisive penalty that would have given the Leopards the bronze medal.


During the AFCON, Chancel Mbemba was often partnered by Enoch Inonga or Dylan Batubinsika in the center of defense. These two defenders also put in fine performances. Still in defense, left-back Arthur Masuaku, who scored against Guinea, and right-back Gédéon Kalulu, both came up trumps.

Another player who has been important for the DRC is Yoane Wissa. In his first Africa Cup of Nations, the Brentford striker was twice named man of the match. Against Zambia on the opening day and against Guinea in the quarter-finals. He scored two goals during the AFCON, finishing as the DRC's top scorer. Nantes midfielder Samuel Moutoussamy, along with Chancel Mbemba, are the only players used in all 7 matches. Charles Pickel, Gaël Kakuta and Meschak Elia, who scored against Egypt and set up Syllas Katompa's goal against Morocco, also scored.

Congo DR's centre-forwards, the flops

The DR Congo's attacking sector has not performed well at this competition. The Leopards scored just 6 goals in the 7 matches played. None of the three center-forwards selected by Sébastien Desabre managed to score.

Cédric Bakambu failed to live up to expectations in his first 5 matches. The new Real Betis player (D1 Spain) only provided an assist for Wissa's goal on the opening day against Zambia. He also missed a penalty against Morocco. For journalist Richard Bukasa, Bakambu's poor performances are due to his lack of playing time at Galatasaray."It's difficult for a player to perform well for the national team if he's not playing for his club. Cédric Bakambu has lost his bearings, and that's perfectly normal. Let's hope that at Real Betis he'll get some playing time back," he analyzed.

On his part, Fiston Kalala Mayele has failed to be the important joker for the Leopards at this AFCON, as he was during the qualifiers. Even when he was in the starting line-up against Tanzania, he wasn't sharp. As for Simon Banza, despite failing to score, the Sporting Braga player finally had his benchmark match since joining the national team. It was against Guinea in the quarter-finals, where he made a remarkable entrance in the second half, destabilizing the Syli defense.

The DR Congo will have to solve this serious problem of realism before facing Senegal in June for the third round of qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup.

SNA tells you more!

No recommendation
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram