The delegation of Senior National Team of the Democratic Republic of Congo, otherwise known as Simba including Africa’s most expensive footballer Cedric Bakambu, flew into Port Harcourt on Thursday night ahead of Monday’s 2018 FIFA World Cup Send Forth encounter with the Super Eagles.
Bakambu on February 28, 2018, the final day of the Chinese transfer window joined Beijing Guoan on a four-year deal in a reported €74 million deal which is an African transfer record.
Ranked 38 in the world (nine places ahead of three-time African champions Nigeria), the Simba themselves came very close to a Russia 2018 ticket, conceding to Tunisia only on the last day of the race.
A period of loss of concentration, which enabled the Carthage Eagles to score two quick goals and tie their encounter in Kinshasa on 5th September 2017 was their undoing, as victory over Libya in Monastir was neutralized by Tunisia’s own defeat of Guinea.
Yet, the Simba, who won the Africa Cup of Nations on home soil in 1968 and in Egypt six years later, is never a team to be under-rated. The team holds the record of being the first African side south of the Sahara to fly Africa’s flag at the FIFA World Cup, way back in 1974.
Nowadays, the likes of Gael Kakuta, Benik Afobe and Cedric Bakambu lead the line for the Simba, and a painful loss the World Cup ticket was, they look forward with high hopes to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations race, in which they hammered neighbouring Congo 3-1 at the start of the campaign 11 months ago.
Rivers State Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike will be host as the Super Eagles test strength against the feisty visitors at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium on Monday, with scores of other prominent Nigerians and tens of thousands more to have
DR Congo squad
Goalkeepers: Joel Kiassumbua, Anthony Mossi, Kalambayi Auguy
Defenders/Midfielders: Issama Mpeko, Glody Ngonda, Wilfried Moke, Christian Luyindama, Yannick Bangala, Chancel Mbemba, Aaron Tshibola, Paul-Jose Mpoku, Gael Kakuta, Kevin Mondeko, Arsene Zola, Bobo Ungenda, Padou Bompunga, Lema Mabidi, Fabrice Ngoma, Harrison Manzala, Nelson Munganga
Forwards: Chadrac Akolo, Cedric Bakambu, Britt Assombalonga, Benik Afobe, Kabongo Kasongo, Ben Malango, Ricky Tulengi, Firmin Mubele