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The Congo DR national football team, nicknamed The Leopards, is the national team of the Democratic Republic of Congomarker and is controlled by the Fédération Congolaise de Football-Association. Congo are currently 96th in the FIFA Rankings, but have reached 51 in the rankings before. As Zaire they were the first black African team to qualify for the World Cup.

In 2006 the team was close to qualifying for its 2nd World Cup appearance after they finished 2nd, and 5 points behind leaders Ghana in qualifying.

Early history

The Fédération Congolaise de Football-Association (FECOFA) was founded in 1919 when the country was not independent. The team played their first game in 1948 as Belgian Congo against Northern Rhodesiamarker, now Zambia. The team recorded a 3–2 victory at home. Congo has been FIFAmarker afflicted since 1962 and has been a member of CAF since 1963. The teams first official played on the 11 April 1963, against Maurintania. Congo won the match 8–0, recording their first victory in their first game. The team is nicknamed the The Leopards.

Glory period

The Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo-Kinshasa then) won his first international success at the 1968 African Cup of Nations (In Ethiopia) Beating Ghana 1-0 in the final. The teams biggest ever win came on the 22nd November 1969 when they recorded a 10–1 home victory against Zambia. From 1971 to 1997 the team was known as Zaire. Their first game as Zaire was played in Cameroonmarker against Sudan. Sudan won this game 3-0. Six years later Zaire won the 1974 African Cup of Nations in Egypt. The team 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 fellow finalists Zambia 2–2. Therefor the match was replayed two days later, where Ziare won the game 2–0. Also Zaire player Mulamba Ndaye was top scorer with 9 goals. After this, the team returned to Ziare by Presidential Plane, left to them by Mobutu Sese Seko. More importantly, Zaire were the first black African team to participate in a FIFA World Cup. At the 1974 FIFA World Cup Zaire were very disappointing. The team did not win a game or score any goals. Their 9–0 defeat against Yugoslavia still remains a World Cup record score line defeat.

Crisis period

After winning the 1974 African Cup of Nations and partisipating in the 1974 FIFA World Cup, the team did not get past the first round of the 1976 African Cup of Nations not recording a win in the group stages. Morocco went on to win the tournament. From 1978 to 1986, the country did not qualify for any other African Cup of Nations. In the 1988 African Cup of Nations Zaire finished last in their group despite having 2 draws.

Return to success

From 1992 to 1996, Zaire, reached three consecutive African Cup of Nations quarter-finals. In 1992 and 1994 they were beat by Nigeria, and in 1996 they were beat by Ghana. In 1997 the name changed to Congo DR. Congo DR played their first game on the 8th June 1997 in Brazzavillemarker which ended in a 1–0 victory for them. At the 1998 African Cup of Nations, DR Congo, led by Louis Watunda Iyolo took third place beating hosts Burkina Faso 4–1 on penalties. At the 2002 African Cup of Nations the team finished 3rd in thir group, and in 2002 they were eliminated in the quarter-finals by Senegal. Then in 2004 They were eliminated by 3 straight defeats in the group stages. And then in 2006, led by Claude Le Roy, having finished second in the group behind Cameroon, were eliminated in the quarter-finals by Egypt 4–1.

Present day

In group 10 the qualifications of the 2008 African Cup of Nations, composed of Libya, Namibia and Ethiopia. on the penultimate day Congo DR led the group, but drew 1–1 with Libya and Namibia beat Ethiopia 3–2. This sent Namibia through to the Finals, and Congo DR finished in 2nd place. Congo DR also failed to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In 2009 Congo DR won the 2009 African Championship of Nations beating Ghana in the final.

World Cup record

Year Round Position GP W D L GS GA
1930 to 1970 Did not enter
1974 Round 1 16 3 0 0 3 0 14
1978 to 1982 Did not qualify
1986 Did not enter
1990 to 2010 Did not qualify
Total 1/18 3 0 0 3 0 14


African Nations Cup record

African Cup of Nations
Titles: 2

Appearances: 15
Year Position Year Position Year Position
1957 Did not enter 1976 Round 1 1994 Quarter Finals
1959 Did not enter 1978 Did not enter 1996 Quarter Finals
1962 Did not enter 1980 Did not qualify 1998 Third place
1963 Did not enter 1982 Did not qualify 2000 Round 1
1965 Round 1 1984 Withdrew 2002 Quarter Finals
1968 Champions 1986 Did not qualify 2004 Round 1
1970 Round 1 1988 Round 1 2006 Quarter Finals
1972 Fourth Place 1990 Did not qualify 2008 Did not qualify
1974 Champions 1992 Quarter Finals 2010 Did not qualify


Current squad

The following players were called for 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification against Malawi on October 11 2008.

Background

  • Facing a free-kick 25 yards out during the 1974 World Cup finals match against Brazil, defender Mwepu Ilunga, upon hearing the referee blow his whistle, ran out of the Zaire wall and booted the ball upfield, for which he received a yellow card. This was voted the 17th greatest World Cup moment in a Channel 4 poll [88450].






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