CAN 2024: for the DRC, one last match can transform the CAN of work into the CAN of pride

The DRC lost in the semi-final of this CAN 2024 against Ivory Coast which was simply better, for one match. It's 90 minutes to complete a competition during which the Leopards struggled hard to reach the last four, from which they leave with their heads held high even if they look crestfallen. It remains to be ensured on Saturday February 10 against South Africa so that dignity completely replaces disappointment.

Henock Inonga Baka is comforted by a member of the staff after the defeat of the DRC against Ivory Coast in the semi-final of CAN 2024. REUTERS - LUC GNAGO

By: Yohann Le Coz Follow


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Next question, I don’t want to

…” said Cédric Bakambu. “

It’s very difficult to find the words

,” echoed his teammate Charles Pickel. In the mixed zone, after the

defeat of the DRC against the Ivory Coast

in the semi-final of the


(0-1), obviously, the Leopards did not display the appearance of their best days. But rather a lot of disappointment, surely, and a little rage, perhaps. It must be said that the Congolese gave a great Ivorian team a hard time, especially during the first half hour.

A little later, at a press conference, the temperature having dropped somewhat in the white-hot enclosure of Ébimpé, it was Sébastien Desabre's turn to take part in the game of analysis: “ 

We are back well in the first 30 minutes, if we don't win, it's because we don't validate our highlights

. [...] 

The first feeling is disappointment. The appearance of the match leads us to be disappointed because we can believe in it compared to the performance we put in


Good enough to harbor no regrets, thus preventing remorse from being superimposed on the sadness of defeat. Not sure that a single athlete has had a career without the latter, but what ointment to soothe him? Surely a balm, rarely concocted at this stage of a major international competition, but which does exist in the DRC's first aid kit. For the recipe, you need above all a vision of the future.

Read alsoCalendar, results and rankings of CAN 2024 matches

When it comes time to take stock, of course, it will be positive

First, look ahead to the upcoming small final on Saturday against South Africa in Abidjan, just to leave Ivory Coast with bronze in your suitcases. “ 

Of course it counts, it’s still a medal

,” insisted Gédéon Kalulu.

This is not to be neglected, it is historic, being the third African nation in the competition, it is not anecdotal

.” Then, take a look at the longer term. Because, let us remember, this Congolese generation has probably not reached maturity. Sébastien Desabre has never hidden that the ultimate objective remains CAN 2025 in Morocco.

So obviously, going through the stages one after the other in Ivory Coast was almost a bonus. Which leads to the final ingredient: pride. “

When it comes time to take stock, of course, it will be positive whatever happens

,” assured the Leopards coach.

The boys deserve it to be positive.


The state of mind is extraordinary.

 » His goalkeeper, Lionel Mpasi, did not contradict him: “ 

We gave everything, it won't work tonight, but we will continue to fight. I think the Congolese are proud of us, of what we showed at this CAN

.” A “

CAN of a job

” well done, one could say.

DRC players denounced the ongoing violence in their country before the CAN 2024 semi-final against Ivory Coast. PIERRE RENE-WORMS/FMM

Also, the Congolese showed a lot on and off the field. Because more than playing, well enough to reach the last four where it was not expected, the selection of the DRC sent a message.

On social networks, first

. Then during the national anthem played before their semi-final, a moment chosen by the Leopards to cover their mouths and mime a gun pointed at their head in order to highlight the ongoing violence in the east of their country.

Enough to add to the pride of a successful competition, when, sometimes, there are things more important than football. “ 

A national football team is an engine for a nation

,” explained Desabre.

Tonight, it was a duty to share this moment.

 » There remains a bronze medal to be collected to complete the Congolese work, orchestrated by the French technician. “

It would be good to validate this tournament with a third place

,” summarized Bakambu, who had not completely lost the use of speech.


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