Ibenge happy to see DR Congo scrape through

DR Congo coach Florent Ibenge was not worried about the narrow margin by which his team qualified for the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations on Monday.

The Leopards, who only made it to the finals in the first place as the best third-placed side in qualifying, scraped through in second place in Group B thanks to a 1-1 draw with Tunisia in Bata.

The result combined with a goalless draw between Cape Verde and Zambia in Ebebiyin saw DR Congo go through on goals scored to a last-eight showdown with Congo Brazzaville this weekend.

“We have qualified for the quarter-finals with some difficulty, just as we had difficulties qualifying for this tournament as the 16th team,” said Ibenge.

“We have not qualified for this stage since 2006 so this is great for us.”

Of the upcoming clash with Claude Le Roy’s Congo Brazzaville, Ibenge added: “They will be tough opponents with an established coach. It will be more than a derby and it will be very difficult for us, and hopefully for them too.

“But we won’t look any further ahead, only teams like Algeria and Tunisia can do that.”

Captain Youssouf Mulumbu, who dropped out of the Leopards’ line-up on Monday due to injury, said: “It is a fantastic feeling. We worked for it and we deserved it. But we need to score goals and were lucky because Cape Verde and Zambia only drew.

“Qualification too was difficult because we were in the same group with the Ivory Coast and cameroon.

“But it would have been a big loss had we not qualified from this group.”


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