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THE SHOT THAT PASSED RIGHT THROUGH THE NET    African Cup Of Nations 2000  JAN 22 - FEB 13  Nigeria/Ghana 
Group A
Group B
South Africa
DR Congo
Group C
Group D
DR Congo 
  • a civil war damaged country (the former 'Zaire') 
  • a traditionally powerful football force
  • a hopeful player generation
  • will they stick to their 1998 team unity or fall back into the times before?
  • among the dark horses - but: to win the title they might have to beat two host countries if unlucky, a quite unlikely effort
  • overview: DR Congo among the best of Africa
  • the list of players  (includes age and where do they play analysis)
 The dark horse? With a new players generation formed out of a lack of funds after a cruel civil war, in 1998 they played Jack the Ripper for West Africans, eliminating Togo, Ghana, and Cameroon, and beating Burkina Faso in a sensational 3rd place play-off on penalties.

 But the other two matches they lost. One of those to Tunisia and the other one to South Africa, a squad they are facing now again. And this time they don't play any West Africans. Also the expectations and such the pressure will be much higher this time.

 Anyway, presupposed the team has conserved the character of 1998, it will be a severe danger to any team. But reproducing such quality in every game will be difficult: like all teams that start in Ghana they face the possible task of having to eliminate two host countries to win the trophy. Quite unlikely, if not somebody else does it for them before.
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 The change of the name is symbolic for the problem marred history of the now DR Congo: before the 1968 cup they started as Congo-Leopoldville (the former Belgian Congo), then Congo-Kinshasa, after the 1968 cup the country was 'Zaire' and since the 1998 edition they play as 'Demcratic Republic of Congo'. The by-names are motivated by the desire to distinguish them from the other, smaller Congo, the former French Congo, that is often referred to as Congo-Brazzaville (Brazzaville for Congo and like Kinshasa for the DR Congo are the capitals, Kinshasa had been named Leopoldville before after some Belgian king).
 Football: After Mobutu took over power in the late 60's, football was strongly supported as a nation building means. A quite brilliant team emerged. But they had a desaster at the World Cup 74 at Germany. And despite remaining one of the more important football nations they did not emerge among the top teams until finsishing third in the 1998 Nations Cup at Burkina Faso. Ironically it had taken the same old dictator to disappear from power before.
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