The head coach of the Leopards of DR Congo Florent Ibenge Ikwange, has stated that he is not thinking of revenge, as he prepares his quarter final game against Cameroon’s Intermediate lions.
Florent Ibenge and his Leopards were beaten at the group stage in Rwanda 2016, by Martin Ndtoungou Mpile’s Intermediate lions, with goals from Atouba, Moumi Ngamaleu and Samuel Nlend. In fact, the leopards have never beaten Cameroon at the CHAN. In 2011 in Sudan, Ndoumbe Bosso’s intermediate lions dispatched the Leopards 2#0 and February 16, 2020 in a friendly game, the lions under the command of Yves Clement Arroga defeated DR Congo 1#0, thanks to Beo Bato’s 70th minute goal.
During his pre_match presser, Florent Ibenge was asked if the Leopards are coming with a sort of revenge, but he was categorical;
“I don’t take football in terms of revenge. I am very happy to meet Martin (Ndtoungou) tomorrow. We were in the same group in Rwanda 2016. We lose against Cameroon and there is nothing to say and now in 2021, we have absolutely nothing against Cameroon. During 90 minutes we will do all to win and after there is no bad feelings. Tomorrow we have 90 minutes and it can go up to 120 minutes or penalties. But not matter the outcome, after the match we remain brothers.”
Saturday’s game will be the Leopards’ third outing in front of the crowd at the Japoma Stadium, a crowd that will likely increase, especially with the lions in town.
“We like to play in front of the crowd. We were deprived of that for a long time, but now there will be people in the stadium. Everyone who come to watch us, we want to make them happy.”, Ibenge told reporters.
Florent Ibenge and his three players recently recovered from the covid-19 virus, though he still has nine players on self Isolation. The tactician says the recent health crisis has made the job very difficult for coaches.
“We did covid-19 test yesterday and we don’t yet have the results. We trained this morning but I don’t know exactly which team I will put tomorrow. It is a big problem for us coaches, because neither me or Martin (Ndtoungou Mpile), knows the type of results that will be presented to us and even when they will be out. I wanted to work on dead balls, but then if then results come and you discover that five players are out in relation to the work I did, what should I do?. So we are in total uncertainty. A new way of training now is working with lots of polyvalence, making the players know that even if you are a center Forward, you can find yourself playing right back at a certain point. I am happy to have players who can do multiple tasks. That’s why up till now, we have not cried a lot.
Chico Ushindi to score against Cameroon?
25_year_old TP Mazembe Forward Chico Ushindi Wa Kabanza, is in the history books as the first player to score a goal at the Japoma Stadium.
He accompanied Coach Ibenge for press conference on Friday morning, and says scoring against the lions on Saturday is his greatest wish.
“I will be happy to score against Cameroon. It will be great pleasure for me. I’m here to score goals. We are well prepared for that match.
DR Congo are record winners of the African Nations championship (two times), and are now eyeing a third title, but will have to solve the Cameroon’s equation come Saturday.