AFCON 2023 Group F: DR Congo and Zambia

Edwin  - CEO January 17, 2024
Updated 2024/01/17 at 11:27 AM
4 Min Read

Unpredictable duel at San Pedro’s Laurent Pokou Stadium



The opening Group F fixture of the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023 officially kicks off at San Pedro’s Laurent Pokou Stadium between DR Congo and Zambia this afternoon.


On the one side is DR Congo, who won two titles back in 1968 and 1974, while on the opposite end are the 2012 champions, Zambia, who lifted the title against this year’s hosts while led by French tactician Herve Renard.


Since then, Chipolopolo has stammered in its continental ambitions. After their 2012 success, they were booted out in the group stages of the 2013 and 2015 editions and are only returning now in Cote d’Ivoire.


Zambia will look to the talent that emerged in their TotalEnergies CAF U-20 AFCON squad, which included the likes of Patson Daka, who has grown into a vital member of the senior team.


This was when captains had to say ahead of this clash.


Sébastien Desabre, DR Congo coach


“The players are focused on the objectives. The first match of a tournament is important but not decisive. We go there with the ambition to continue what we have undertaken for a year and a half. We are underdogs, but we want to play good matches. We will face Zambia, who have excellent qualities, especially offensively. The players are ready to defend the colors of the country.”


Chancel Mbemba, DR Congo captain


“It’s my 5th AFCON, and this is an opportunity to share my Experience with other players. But Experience must also be shown on the ground. Zambia has a great team, especially its attack. We watched the videos, and we are working on our own. We will defend our flag facing any player.”


Avram Grant, Zambia coach


“The AFCON is an essential competition in Africa. We take everything seriously. This is how we will tackle our first match. We have a good team, and the opponent is also good. Preparations went well, and we arrived here to continue working hard.


There are teams better than us, but we are at the same level as DR Congo. Everyone wants to win the AFCON, but only one country will win. We want to play football and give our best on the pitch.”


Lubambo Musonda, captain Zambia


“We want to start the competition well. In 2012, we won when we were not expected to win, and that is football. You have to play, be ambitious, and take the matches individually. Afterward, we will see if we can reproduce what our elders did in 2012.


We weren’t there in the last editions, and that hurt us. Today, we are here. We want to enjoy and have no regrets. Many teammates are here for the first time but are motivated to give everything. We have the right state of mind.”


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