DR Congo fans love their coach

2013-01-22 17:58

DR Congo fans hoisted veteran coach Claude Le Roy midair after training today, as if the DRC had won the tournament already.

The team boasts arguably the top striking partnership and among the most colourful fans at the Africa Cup of Nations under way in South Africa.

The pairing of seasoned marksman Lomana Lualua and Tresor Mputu justifies why the Leopards were able to overturn a 2-0 and draw in their opening Group B fixture against Ghana on Sunday.

This is the combination the DRC fans in Port Elizabeth described as the team they have been waiting for for a long time.

Former Newcastle United striker Lualua said he cherished his pairing with TP Mazembe talisman Mputu.

The 27-year-old Mputu is also the captain of the Leopards.

“We understand each other but what really counts the most for us is that we have good young players who are also committed,” said Lualua, who was convinced by Le Roy to return to the national side after the 32-year-old striker had clashed with the national federation.

“It’s always a pleasure representing my country and young players will benefit from my experience,” said Lualua who plies his trade at Karabukspor in Turkey.

He made his debut for the DRC team in 2002.

This tournament marks six years since the Leopards had qualified.

Their return is also well received given the backing they enjoy here in Port Elizabeth.

A sizeable group of fans descended on Zwide Stadium at the team’s training session today.

Some are from Kinshasa and Lubumbashi. Others had driven from Johannesburg and Durban.

“We love coach Claude Le Roy because he understands our football and he had selected the best players for this tournament,” said supporter Alain Kibangula.

See how the contenders match up:

» Follow @daniemothowagae and @City_Press for more Afcon coverage.

Afcon Group B - FIFA rankings

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