DRC to focus on Elephants

2015-02-03 17:20
Florent Ibenge (AFP)

Bata - Democratic Republic of Congo players have been told to forget the euphoria of their comeback quarter-final win as they prepare for their African Nations Cup semi-final against Ivory Coast on Wednesday.

"I've been talking about it all the time in training," coach Florent Ibenge told a news conference as the Congolese prepared for their semi-final against the fancied Ivorians in Bata.

"We have to really get our concentration back and focus on what is going to be a really tough encounter. Our last game was one of great emotion but I've been working hard to get all the euphoria behind us."

DR Congo were 2-0 down just after an hour of the quarter-final against neighbours Congo in Bata but scored four goals in the last 25 minutes to seal a thrilling win.

"We expect a game full of a lot of tactics, very physical and with the need for strong mental concentration. It is difficult for the players in what will be their fifth game after two weeks of this tournament and also a couple of weeks of preparations before the tournament," Ibenge added.

"It will be complicated for us but we hope it will as difficult for them," he added at a pre-match press conference on Tuesday.

The Congolese last played the Ivorians in the qualifiers in October when they produced another thrilling performance to force a surprise 4-3 away win.

"But no two games are the same and we must forget that one. The Ivorians team has changed a lot since then, they have stiffened up the midfield and since Kolo Toure came back they've been a lot tougher to break down in defence."

DR Congo must again do without captain Youssouf Mulumbu, who tore his hamstring in their second match of the tournament against the Cape Verde Islands.

Ibenge said the West Bromwich Albion midfielder remained an important team member with his leadership role on the bench.


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