DR Congo coach Ibenge hails Rwanda's hospitality

The Democratic Republic of Congo head coach, Jean-Florent Ibenge, has hailed Rwandans for being hospitable and supportive during the 2016 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) tournament.
Elia Mechak ( L) netted a brace as DR Congo thrashed Mali 3-0 in the final at Amahoro National Stadium in Kigali to win CHAN 2016 title on Sunday. (T. Kisambira)
Elia Mechak ( L) netted a brace as DR Congo thrashed Mali 3-0 in the final at Amahoro National Stadium in Kigali to win CHAN 2016 title on Sunday. (T. Kisambira)

Sunday

Final

DR Congo 3-0 Mali

Third Place

Guinea 1-2 Côte d’Ivoire

The Democratic Republic of Congo head coach, Jean-Florent Ibenge, has hailed Rwandans for being hospitable and supportive during the 2016 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) tournament.

“The most important element has been the level of fair play exhibited in the tournament, on and off the field. Even when we beat the host nation (Rwanda) at the quarter-finals, the locals cheered us on as we made way from the stadium to our hotel. This is not something you normally see anywhere else, even in my country,” said Ibenge.

He added, “Even in the final, Rwandans were supporting us, which is something we cannot take for granted.”

The 58-year-old Ibenge led DR Congo’s Les Leopard to their second CHAN title after an emphatic 3-0 win over Mali in the final played on Sunday evening at Amahoro National Stadium in Kigali. DRC also won the inaugural edition in 2009, which was staged in Ivory Coast.

A brace from SC Don Bosco right winger Elia Mechak and another goal by TP Mazembe striker Jonathan Bolingi saw the neighbours overwhelm a young Mali side.

DR Congo eliminated Amavubi in the quarter-finals 2-1 in extra time before defeating Guinea 5-4 on penalties in the semi-finals.

Ibenge noted that his next focus is the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon. “We want to qualify. Also, I have a personal ambition to be at the World Cup, which DR Congo has failed to qualify for since 1974.”

Meanwhile, Mali head Coach Djbril Drame, congratulated DR Congo, explaining that they were better side and deserved to win.

“I’m not really disappointed with the performance of my team, taking into consideration that we had two weeks to prepare for the tournament, but DR Congo deserved the victory. However, I also congratulate my players and I think some of them will be promoted to the senior team,” said Drame

At the previous CHAN finals tournament in South Africa in 2014, Mali were eliminated at the quarter-finals by Zimbabwe 2-1, while DR Congo also exited at the same stage after falling 1-0 to Ghana.

The next CHAN finals tournament will be staged in Nairobi, Kenya in 2018.

Individual awards:

President Paul Kagame – CAF Medal of Appreciation
Elia Mechak (DR Congo) – Player of the Tourney

CHAN 2016 Top Scorers

Elvis Chisom Chikatara Nigeria 4
Elia Mechak DR Congo 4
Ahmed Akaichi Tunisia 4
Ernest Sugira Rwanda 3
Alseny Kamara Guinea 2

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