DR Congo forward Cedric Bakambu has revealed Florent Ibenge’s decision to play with two strikers in their Africa Cup of Nations game against Zimbabwe led to their huge 4-0 success.
After losing their first two games against Uganda and Egypt, the Leopards needed to beat Sunday Chidzambwa’s troops on Sunday evening if they wanted to throw their hat in the ring for qualification to the Round of 16 as one of the four best third-placed sides.
Speaking to the media after their important victory against the Warriors, Bakambu, who scored a brace while fellow strikers Jonathan Bolingi and Britt Assombalonga netted as well, disclosed how Ibenge’s adjustment in attack prompted their goal-laden success.
“The coach [Florent Ibenge] was aggressive with two strikers – Bolingi and I – and we played more direct, with two strikers,” Bakambu told journalists after the match.
“We knew that today was our chance if we are to go through, and I’m very happy. For us, our objective was to score a lot of goals. To win is good but not enough, we said we wanted to win together, and score more goals, and we did, and I’m very happy.”
After firing blanks in their opening two games of the group, the Beijing Guoan frontman believes misfortune played a major role in not scoring against the Pharaohs, before effusively praising his teammates and the fans after Sunday’s success.
“Against Egypt, we played well, we were unlucky not to score. It was just tactical and psychological,” the striker asserted.
“Today we did, we scored four, and it’s great for the confidence. I’m very proud of my teammates.
“I want to say thank you to my team and the fans. It was a very difficult game for us, so I’m very proud of my team and the fans because it was difficult and this is football. We started the competition with zero points, tonight we have three points, and I’m very happy,” he continued.
“I’m a competitor; we have a major hope to qualify, we said we had to go for it today. We said that whatever happened, we wanted to leave with our heads high, and I must again thank my teammates.”
After three games, DRC ended third in Group A with three points and now have to wait till the completion of the group phase to know their fate regarding qualification to the Round of 16 as one of the top third-placed sides.
Hosts Egypt finished top with nine points, Uganda were second with four, while Zimbabwe ended in fourth place with a single point.