Cape Town - A frosty reunion awaits Cote d'Ivoire and DR
Congo on Wednesday night in Bata when they meet in a 2015 African Cup of
Nations semi-final showdown.
The match is scheduled to get underway at 21:00 (SA time).
This will be the two sides’ third encounter in the last five
months after they met in the 2015 Africa Cup qualifiers in which they recorded
painful away results against each other.
Cote d'Ivoire beat hosts DR Congo 2-1 in the first leg of
their Group D qualifiers on October 11 in Kinshasa.
Four days later, DR Congo avenged that defeat with a 4-3 win
DR Congo coach Florent Ibenge said it will not be easy in
their grudge match against Cote d'Ivoire.
"This is a team unlike the one we met in October. It
changed especially defensively. There are new faces that were added like Kolo
Toure who has masterful command of his team’s defence," Ibenge said.
"The team is also much more mature."
There is also an extra twist to the plot with Ibenge meeting
Claude Le Roys’ protege and Cote d’Ivoire coach Herve Renard.
Ibenge outwitted Renard's mentor in the quarterfinals last
Saturday when DR Congo rallied from 2-0 to beat Le Roy's Congo-Brazzaville 4-2.
A win for DR Congo will see them through to their first
final appearance since lifting their second and last Africa Cup title in 1974.
Cote d'Ivoire on the other hand are targeting their first
final appearance since losing to Zambia in the 2012 final with coincidentally
Renard in charge of the latter.
The Elephants will be hoping Renard's magic he blended in
Equatorial Guinea three years ago in en route to victory is still potent enough
to take them to the promised land.
Winner will meet victor of Thursday’s other penultimate
stage clash involving Ghana and hosts Equatorial Guinea.