Leopards football: capitalize on the failure of Annaba to better bounce back at CAN 2023

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Kinshasa, january 23th, 2023 (CPA).- The Leopards A’ of the DRC have left Sunday, the tail between the legs, the 7th edition of the Championship of African Nations (CHAN) organized by the African Confederation football from January 13th to February 4th, 2023 in Algeria, after the heavy defeat (0-3) suffered against the Teranga Lions of Senegal, in match of the third and last day of the first round.

The Congolese fauves who were housed in group B based in the coastal city of Annaba, located in the northeast of Algeria, have no only two points after their consecutive goalless draws in opening against Uganda and Ivory Coast, in matches of the first and second day, before being ridiculed (0-3) by the Senegalese on the third day.

Apart from their searing and unforgettable humiliation at the World Cup 1974, in Germany where the Leopards A had conceded 14 goals without returning one alone (0-2 against Scotland, 0-9 against Yugoslavia, 0-3 against Brazil), the Leopards A ‘of DRC, yet already winners of CHAN twice, have just suffered, in Annaba in Algeria, their worst snub in African competition by failing to violate the opposing cages in three games.

Well before the last day against Senegal, the coach of the Local Leopards, Otis Ngoma, declared that « the inadequacy of the matches of preparation is the cause of the underperformance of the Leopards A’ of the DRC”.

“We came to the competition with 28 players, some of whom have never delivered a friendly match », he explained, before adding: « It there are boys who don’t know each other and who have trouble express themselves together”.

For his part, former coach Jean Florent Ibenge who had

won the CHAN with the Leopards A’ in Rwanda in 2016 affirmed of his side that “the absence of age teams at all levels prevents the DRC to work in continuity for the development of its football”.

Some argue, moreover, the lack of infrastructure and the

structural and endemic disorganization of the practice of sport in DRC, as the main causes of the failures of Congolese football which draws its best elements from the streets, despite the appearance progressive embryos of football schools in the country.

The failure of Annaba, a burst of pride for any Congolese with a view to qualifying for CAN 2023

However, the failure of Annaba, instead of discouraging and demobilizing

energies, should however give rise to a burst of pride for all Congolese in order to encourage them to work hand in hand to obtain the qualification, currently poorly underway, of Leopards at the next edition of the African Cup of Nations planned in Côte d’Ivoire in 2013.

After losing their first two qualifying matches

against Gabon at home (0-1) and Sudan (1-2) away, the Leopards must imperatively pull themselves together against Mauritania that they will meet back and forth next March.

On paper, the Leopards have the necessary assets to

qualify. But, football is currently being played on the pitch. The unexpected defeat at home of the Leopards on Saturday June 04, 2022
against the intrepid Panthers of Gabon, who came the same day to Kinshasa and arrived at the Martyrs stadium, without their big stars, only a few minutes before the kick-off of the match counting for the 1st day of group I of the CAN 2023 qualifiers, must invite the Congolese to be vigilant at all times.

It is often said that great teams never die. To the

Leopards, who have already missed the last edition of the CAN at Cameroon, to prove it by obtaining their visa for Ivory Coast
2023. It is still possible.  CPA/