DR Congo national football team

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DR Congo
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s) The Leopards
Association Fédération Congolaise de Football-Association (FECOFA)
Sub-confederation UNIFFAC
(Central Africa)
Confederation CAF (Africa)
Head coach Florent Ibengé
Captain Youssuf Mulumbu
Home stadium Stade des Martyrs
FIFA ranking 46 Increase 11 (12 February 2015)
Highest FIFA ranking 46 (February 2015)
Lowest FIFA ranking 133 (October 2011)
Elo ranking 96
Highest Elo ranking 20 (March 1974)
Lowest Elo ranking 111 (September 2010)
First colours
Second colours
First international
Belgian Congo 3–2 Northern Rhodesia 
(Belgian Congo; 1948)
Biggest win
 DR Congo 10–1 Zambia 
(Kinshasa, Congo DR; 22 November 1969)
Biggest defeat
 Yugoslavia 9–0 Zaire
(Gelsenkirchen, Germany; 18 June 1974)
World Cup
Appearances 1 (First in 1974)
Best result First round, 1974
Africa Cup of Nations
Appearances 15 (First in 1965)
Best result Winners: 1968 & 1974

The Democratic Republic of the Congo national football team (formerly the Zaire national football team) is the national team of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is controlled by the Fédération Congolaise de Football-Association (FECOFA). They are nicknamed the Leopards.[1]

DR Congo have been ranked as high as 46 in the FIFA Rankings. As Zaire they were the first Sub-Saharan African team to qualify for the FIFA World Cup and twice won the Africa Cup of Nations.


Early history[edit]

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 Rhodesia, now Zambia. The team recorded a 3–2 victory at home. DR Congo has been FIFA affiliated since 1962 and has been a member of CAF since 1963. The team's first official match was on the 11 April 1963, against Mauritania in the L'Amitié Tournament played in Dakar, Senegal. DR Congo won the match 6–0.[2]

Glory period[edit]

The Democratic Republic of the Congo had its first international success at the 1968 African Cup of Nations held in Ethiopia, beating Ghana 1–0 in the final. The team's biggest ever win came on 22 November 1969 when they recorded a 10–1 home victory against Zambia. From 1971 to 1997 the country, and therefore the team, was known as Zaire. Their first game as Zaire was played in Cameroon 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 Zambia 2–2. Therefore the match was replayed two days later, where Zaire won the game 2–0. Zaire player Mulamba Ndaye was top scorer with nine goals, wehich remains a record for the tournament. After this, the team returned to Zaire on the Presidential plane, lent to them by Mobutu Sese Seko.

Zaire were the first Sub-Saharan African team to participate in a FIFA World Cup.[3] At the 1974 FIFA World Cup Zaire did not manage to score any goals and lost all of its games. Their 9–0 defeat against Yugoslavia still remains a World Cup record. 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 kicked the ball upfield, for which he received a yellow card. This was voted the 17th greatest World Cup moment in a Channel 4 poll,[4] though many commentators held it to be an example of African football's "naïvety and indiscipline".[5] However, Ilunga has claimed that he was quite aware of the rules and was hoping to convince the referee to send him off. The intended red card would have been a protest against his country's authorities, who were alleged to be depriving the players of their earnings.[6]

Crisis period[edit]

After winning the 1974 African Cup of Nations and participating 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, while withdrawing from qualification for the 1978 FIFA World Cup. In the 1988 African Cup of Nations Zaire finished last in their group despite having 2 draws.

Return to success[edit]

From 1992 to 1996, Zaire, reached three consecutive African Cup of Nations quarter-finals. In 1992 and 1994 they were beaten by Nigeria, and in 1996 they were beaten by Ghana. In 1997, their name changed to DR Congo. DR Congo played their first game on the 8 June 1997 in Brazzaville 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 2000 African Cup of Nations the team finished 3rd in their group, and in 2002 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.

Recent history[edit]

DR Congo were drawn in group 10 for qualifications for the 2008 African Cup of Nations, along with Libya, Namibia and Ethiopia. On the penultimate day DR Congo led the group, but drew 1–1 with Libya and Namibia beat Ethiopia 3–2. This sent Namibia through to the Finals, and DR Congo finished in 2nd place. DR Congo also failed to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In 2009, DR Congo won the 2009 African Championship of Nations, a competition reserved to players in domestic leagues, beating Ghana in the final. DR Congo reached the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals in South Africa but were knocked out in the group stages after drawing all three matches. In the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, DR Congo qualified from their group with 3 points and finished 2nd place in the group behind Tunisia, therefore they advanced to the quarter finals to play against their rivals Republic of Congo and they came from two goals down to win 4-2. However, they were knocked out by Ivory Coast who won 3-1 in the semi finals. They ended up finishing third, beating Equatorial Guineau in penalties, after the third place match went 0-0 in regulation time.

Current squad[edit]

The following 23-man squad for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations on January 7, 2015. [7] Caps and goals updated as 7 February 2015, following the match against Equatorial Guinea.

0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Robert Kidiaba (1976-02-01) 1 February 1976 (age 39) 60 0 Democratic Republic of the Congo Mazembe
16 1GK Mulopo Kudimbana (1987-01-21) 21 January 1987 (age 28) 4 0 Belgium Anderlecht
23 1GK Parfait Mandanda (1989-10-10) 10 October 1989 (age 25) 7 0 Belgium Charleroi
2 2DF Issama Mpeko (1986-03-03) 3 March 1986 (age 28) 37 1 Angola Kabuscorp
3 2DF Jean Kasusula (1986-08-05) 5 August 1986 (age 28) 40 0 Democratic Republic of the Congo Mazembe
4 2DF Christopher Oualembo (1987-01-31) 31 January 1987 (age 28) 5 0 Portugal Académica
12 2DF Bawaka Mabele (1988-06-09) 9 June 1988 (age 26) 5 0 Democratic Republic of the Congo Vita Club
14 2DF Gabriel Zakuani (1986-05-31) 31 May 1986 (age 28) 12 0 England Peterborough United
15 2DF Joël Kimwaki (1986-10-14) 14 October 1986 (age 28) 38 1 Democratic Republic of the Congo Mazembe
17 2DF Cédric Mongongu (1989-06-22) 22 June 1989 (age 25) 35 2 France Évian
22 2DF Chancel Mbemba Mangulu (1994-08-08) 8 August 1994 (age 20) 15 0 Belgium Anderlecht
5 3MF Nelson Munganga (1993-07-27) 27 July 1993 (age 21) 4 0 Democratic Republic of the Congo Vita Club
6 3MF Cédric Makiadi (1984-02-23) 23 February 1984 (age 31) 26 2 Germany Werder Bremen
7 3MF Youssouf Mulumbu (1987-01-25) 25 January 1987 (age 28) 27 1 England West Bromwich Albion
8 3MF Hervé Kage (1989-04-10) 10 April 1989 (age 25) 4 0 Belgium Genk
10 3MF Neeskens Kebano (1992-03-10) 10 March 1992 (age 22) 5 1 Belgium Charleroi
20 3MF Lema Mabidi (1993-06-11) 11 June 1993 (age 21) 18 0 Democratic Republic of the Congo Vita Club
9 4FW Dieumerci Mbokani (1985-11-22) 22 November 1985 (age 29) 31 15 Ukraine Dynamo Kyiv
11 4FW Yannick Bolasie (1989-05-24) 24 May 1989 (age 25) 16 4 England Crystal Palace
13 4FW Junior Kabananga (1989-04-04) 4 April 1989 (age 25) 8 1 Belgium Cercle Brugge
18 4FW Cedrick Mabwati (1992-03-08) 8 March 1992 (age 22) 13 0 Spain Osasuna
19 4FW Jeremy Bokila (1988-11-14) 14 November 1988 (age 26) 12 5 Russia Terek Grozny
21 4FW Firmin Ndombe Mubele (1994-04-17) 17 April 1994 (age 20) 18 2 Democratic Republic of the Congo Vita Club

Competition records[edit]

FIFA World Cup[edit]

FIFA World Cup record
Year Round Position Pld W D L GF GA
Uruguay 1930 to
England 1966
Did not enter
Mexico 1970 Entry not accepted[8]
West Germany 1974 Group Stage 16th 3 0 0 3 0 14
Argentina 1978 Withdrew
Spain 1982 Did not qualify
Mexico 1986 Banned
Italy 1990 to
Brazil 2014
Did not qualify
Russia 2018 To Be Determined
Qatar 2022
Total Group Stage 1/20 3 0 0 3 0 14

African Nations Cup[edit]

African Cup of Nations
Titles: 2
Appearances: 15
Year Position Year Position Year Position Year Position
Sudan 1957 Did not enter Ethiopia 1976 Round 1 Tunisia 1994 Quarter Finals Equatorial GuineaGabon 2012 Did not qualify
Egypt 1959 Did not enter Ghana 1978 Did not enter South Africa 1996 Quarter Finals South Africa 2013 Round 1
Ethiopia 1962 Did not enter Nigeria 1980 Did not qualify Burkina Faso 1998 Third place Equatorial Guinea 2015 Third place
Ghana 1963 Did not enter Libya 1982 Did not qualify GhanaNigeria 2000 Round 1 2017 To be determined
Tunisia 1965 Round 1 Ivory Coast 1984 Withdrew Mali 2002 Quarter Finals Cameroon 2019 To be determined
Ethiopia 1968 Champions Egypt 1986 Did not qualify Tunisia 2004 Round 1 Ivory Coast 2021 To be determined
Sudan 1970 Round 1 Morocco 1988 Round 1 Egypt 2006 Quarter Finals Guinea 2023 To be determined
Cameroon 1972 Fourth Place Algeria 1990 Did not qualify Ghana 2008 Did not qualify
Egypt 1974 Champions Senegal 1992 Quarter Finals Angola 2010 Did not qualify

List of coaches[edit]


  1. ^ "BBC SPORT | WORLD CUP | History | 1974: Zaire's show of shame". BBC News. 2002-05-22. Retrieved 2013-11-15. 
  2. ^ Courtney, Barrie (14 June 2007). "DR Congo (Zaire, Congo-Kinshasa) – List of International Matches". FRSSF. Retrieved 10 November 2010. 
  3. ^ Merrill, Austin. "Zaire, the Leopards, and the 1974 World Cup". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  4. ^ "Explore". Channel 4. Retrieved 2013-11-15. 
  5. ^ "The Joy of Six: Symbolic reducers, including Roy Keane, Norman Whiteside and Benjamin Massing | Football". London: theguardian.com. 23 July 2007. Retrieved 2013-11-15. 
  6. ^ "BBC Sport - Football - Zaire free-kick farce explained". BBC News. 2010-05-28. Retrieved 2013-11-15. 
  7. ^ "CAN 2015 : Voici les 29 présélectionnés des Léopards RDC" (in French). fecofa.cd. Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  8. ^ "History of the FIFA World Cup Preliminary Competition (by year)". FIFA.com. Fédération Internationale de Football Association. Retrieved 2011-11-16. 

External links[edit]