Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) coach, Sebastien Desabre has an objective as his team planned to face hosts, Cote D’Ivoire in the semi-final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
The objective is to beat Emerse Fae’s side and book a place in the final of the tournament.
The last the team reached the final was in 1974 when they beat host, Egypt in the semi-final on their way to claiming their second title.
“If it is true that there is always luck in football games. They won the last two games which are elements they will be pondering on,” Desabre told journalists during a pre-match press conference in Abidjan on Tuesday.
“Whichever stadium we play, we are ready to defend the country so that those who are suffering back home will smile. Tomorrow will be a particular match to send messages across for people to mingle irrespective of what is going on back in the country.
“We are preparing for the match. The match will be open between two teams.
“Cote D’Ivoire has a quality squad. Four players are suspended but they have other quality players which is part of their strengths. When it comes to extra time, we will see during the game. This is a plus that might help us tomorrow because I don’t know if they have enough time to recover. We have worked on our opponents because we know their strengths and weaknesses.”
The two times DR Congo won the AFCON title, they defeated hosts, Ethiopia (1968) and Egypt (1974) in the semi-final.
“When I came, we had two defeats at the qualification stage. At the end of the day, we find out that it was a trend from somewhere. All the players have integrated into the project. We have gained momentum. You will see that during the qualification, we still need to make some headway. We have got to this AFCON with good games and have scored a lot of goals. Tomorrow opponents have conceded less goals. We will put in place strategies to score more goals against them.
“We have prepared our players and they are all fit for the tough game. They will all be available for the match.
“We want to fix our weaknesses also tomorrow. We know that it is possible to get to the final but we have to play a good and rigorous game. Cote D’Ivoire is a good team.
“We watched the quarter-final match together between Mali and Cote D’Ivoire. We knew they were both good sides. We were waiting to know our opponents. We are happy to face Cote D’Ivoire ranked 14th in Africa. What matters to us now is to get to the final. We are now in the semi-final, we don’t want to stop here but want to get to the finals.
“For one year now we have been into this project. I have in my disposition to build a good squad. This is an opportunity to build a new generation.
“The important thing for us is to be focused. We know how to play in a big stadium. We are focused on our football alone. We will play the game like other games. We will play the game 100 percent tactically and open the game tomorrow.
“It is logical for teams that play at home. It is a lot of motivation for home teams to get lots of supporters. We need to do our job on the field.
“We have five weeks with the team and prepared a list. We reflect on players that will be part of the game. We selected 24 out of 26. When we come to competition like this, whether you play or not, you are part of the squad as a rule that must be adhered to. I do explain to them that as a squad player, you can play and also not play. Despite the fact that they play in major leagues, they know that a player is not ahead of the other and that has been helping the team.
“A striker would have loved to score goals. It also goes in the direction that there is a strategy to ensure that the team plays together. As technicians, we look at the balance of the game. If someone doesn’t prepare a game, he won’t be able to score. The most important thing is the unique desire to defend the national team shirt. Bakambu has scored for the team on several occasions. He is a key part of the team and contributed to the team’s goals so far.
“Motivation for a coach, tomorrow when we get to the stadium, maybe I need to speak about this. The players know the importance of this for them and the country. We know the game will be a tough one and we are ready.” He concluded.
Since 1974, DR Congo has reached the semi finals twice in 1998 and 2015, and won bronze medals on both occasions.
Another historic feat awaits the team this week.
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