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World Cup 2026 (Q): Mauritania and the DRC reunite

This Wednesday marks the start of the 2026 World Cup qualifying round in the African zone.The first game in Group B in Kinshasa is the one between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mauritania.Two teams who recently faced each other twice in the CAN 2023 qualifications are getting back together.

Wednesday at 16:00 GMT in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo will play Mauritania in the first Group B qualifier for the 2026 World Cup in Africa. Leopards and Murabitounes, who recently clashed in the AFCON 2023 qualifiers, are reuniting. The Leopards find themselves somewhat unnerved by memories of their last two meetings. The second game finished in a 1-1 tie in Nouakchott, with the Tunisian referee Sadok Selmi reprimanding them for the red card he gave Cedric Bakambu. The Congolese had won the first match (3-1) in Lubumbashi.

After protesting Mauritania’s list of ineligible players, the Congolese went on to win the game by a single goal. Sébastien Desabre, the coach of the DRC, believes that the match at hand should take precedence over the past. “We had a game that we won and drew in a situation that may be considered exceptional on the field. But we’re discarding the past and concentrating on our goal for this Wednesday’s game. I’m not sure whether we can discuss retaliation since soccer is still involved. “I’m hoping for a packed stadium to support us as usual, and the players are really driven to do well,” he said.

Having qualified for the African Cup of Nations, a strong start to the World Cup campaign

The Democratic Republic of Congo is coming into the 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign with a lot of optimism, having miraculously qualified for the 2023 African Cup of Nations despite losing their first two qualifiers. Their coach gave the Congolese team assurances that they wanted to build on their recent successes with a new goal in mind.

“We are carrying out our long-standing plan, and the players are in high spirits.
We had so much energy after qualifying for the AFCON.However, we are now starting a new goal that will take two years to complete and will include ten matches. We approach this goal with great humility as well as great passion to qualify.To get qualifying, you must play well in your games,” he admitted.

Based on their previous club results, the Leopards are in fantastic shape going into the World Cup qualifiers, particularly with their key players. Cédric Bakambu is one such individual who has just registered an account with Galatasaray. On the fourth day of the UEFA Champions League group stage, the German team Bayern Munich defeated the Turkish club, although the Congolese attacker cut the gap. At the age of 32, Bakambu scored his first-ever goal in a European C1. Another Leopards talent who has done well in Europe is Chancel Mbemba. On the fourth day of the Europa League group stage, the captain of the DRC scored for Marseille, which helped them defeat the Greek team AEK Athens.

A handful of players, notably center-forward Simon Banza, will be looking to play their first minutes in an official encounter with the Leopards in addition to the senior players.

Thanks to his stats, the striker from Braga (D1 Portugal), who made his debut for the national team during the October break, is a fresh and intriguing addition to Sébastien Desabre’s assault. In fact, with 10 goals in ten games and two assists, he leads the Portuguese championship in scoring right now. On the third day of the group stage in the Champions League, against Real Madrid, he also supplied the game-winning assist. Given Bakambu’s current condition and the continued significance of his son Kalala Mayele, Simon Banza presents more tactical options to Sébastien Desabre.

Beware of the Mourabitounes.

The Mourabitounes have always performed well against the Congolese squad, even if they failed to secure a single point against them in the AFCON 2023 qualifiers. Their ability to make it to the AFCON 2023 despite dropping points on the green carpet serves as evidence. Thus, sports writer Papy Katasi’s warning.”Mauritania has talented players on their squad. Not to be overlooked is TP Mazembe right-back Ibrahim Keïta, whose abilities have been shown in both the local league and on the continent. In particular, we have seen the return of defensive mainstay Lamine Ba. Thus, we must continue to exercise caution while playing this squad,” he said.


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