DR Congo 'never lost hope', says coach after progress to semis

Florent Ibenge
Democratic Republic of Congo's head coach Florent Ibenge looks on during their quarter-final soccer match of the 2015 African Cup of Nations against Congo in Bata
Saturday 31 Jan 2015
DR Congo coach Florent Ibenge said his side "never lost hope" as they recovered from two goals down to beat Congo Brazzaville 4-2 in an incredible Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final on Saturday.

"We never lost hope and confidence that we could still win the match," said Ibenge, whose side found themselves trailing 2-0 with 25 minutes left in Bata only for a Dieumerci Mbokani brace and goals from Loteteka Bokila and Joel Kimwaki Mpela to turn the tie on its head.

"We changed tactics and formation after we went 2-0 down because I noticed the Congo defence was getting tired.

"It was very emotional to play against a country like Congo but we wanted to go through because it is not every time you get such an opportunity," added Ibenge after the Leopards qualified for the last four for the first time since 1998.

His side had reached the knockout stage despite not winning a game in Group B, and he acknowledged that DR Congo were staring a disastrous defeat in the face until their comeback.

"If we had lost to Congo, it would amount to us not doing anything at this tournament. A defeat today would have been a lot tougher on us," he said.

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