DR Congo v Cameroon - A final before time

RDC Chan

When DR Congo lock horns with Cameroon in the Total African Nations Championship (CHAN), Cameroon 2020 quarterfinal, it is certainly going to be one of the biggest encounters of the ongoing tournament.

Hosts Cameroon are facing one of the most impressive teams in two-time champions DR Congo at the Japoma Stadium in Douala with a place in the semifinals at stake. The battle between DR Congo Leopards and Cameroon Indomitable Lions kicks off at 20:00 local time (19:00 GMT).

Noting that only a capacity of 25% is allowed due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Japoma Stadium is already sold out according to the Cameroonian authorities. “Tickets for the Democratic Republic of Congo Vs Cameroon match are out of stock”, a statement said.

Cameroon CHAN

Two-time champions DR Congo are the only team in the continent to win CHAN more than once. The Leopards are playing in CHAN quarterfinals for the 4th time (2011, 2014, 2016 and 2020), having gone directly to the semis in 2009 with just 8 teams participating then. This is a record that no other team has achieved in the competition.

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“I don't take football in terms of revenge,” DR Congo coach Florent Ibenge said, referring to his side’s loss to Cameroon in 2016 edition in Rwanda. “We lost to Cameroon in 2016, now we are in 2021. For 90 minutes, you do whatever it takes to win. This is a new game with new players, the only thing that did not change are the two coaches,” he added.

Ibenge was Leopards’ coach when they won the title in 2016 despite losing to Martin Mpile led Cameroon in the group stage then. “We like to play in front of the public. We have been deprived for a long time, now there will be people at the stadium. I've always said it's better to play with a lot of people even if the audience is against us. We do this job a little bit for that,” concluded Ibenge.

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Meanwhile, Cameroon reached CHAN quarterfinals for the third time, after 2011 and 2016, hoping to go one step further and reach their first ever semifinal.

“At this level of competition, we don't think much. It's only one game and you have to win,” Cameroon coach Martin Ntoungou Mpile said. “We know DR Congo very well and we are ready to win this game.”

“It's good that there is popular excitement around this game. Normally there is pressure on the coach and the players. This pressure drops as soon as the game kicks off,” concluded the Indomitable Lions coach.

This is the third time DR Congo and Cameroon face off in CHAN finals. Both previous encounters were in the group stage, with Cameroon winning 2-0 in Sudan 2011 and 3-1 in Rwanda 2016.