The Democratic Republic of Congo began its quest for a third Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) title with a narrow 1-0 win against Congo in their Group B opener at the Japoma Stadium in Douala on Sunday.
The only goal of the game was scored by Chico Kubanza two minutes into the second half. The TP Mazembe midfielder picked up a loose ball on the right side of Congo’s penalty area and curled a left-footed shot past goal keeper Pavelh Ndzila.
The win sent the two-time champions top of the group two points clear of Niger and 2016 champions Libya who settled for a goalless draw at the same venue earlier in the day.
The game may have ended without a goal but it was not for lack of trying. Both sides had very good opportunities but Ahmed Azzaqa (Libya) and Abdoul Razak Oumarou (Niger) managed to pull off excellent saves. Some wasteful finishing and a goal line clearance by Niger when Oumarou spilled an easy catch kept the score at 0-0.
The next group games on Thursday will see two former champions lock horns, when DR Congo plays Libya as Congo takes on Niger.
Monday’s games in Group C will see defending champions Morocco get their title defence underway against tournament debutants Togo at the Stade de la Réunification in Douala, while Rwanda and Uganda will face off against each other at the same venue.