When DR Congo’s youngster Meshack Elia netted his second goal to send Mali packing, Kinshasa was already partying. That was still before Jonathan Bolingi slotted home the third, to seal a record second Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) for DR Congo.
“I am very happy, this is a feat we deserved. We worked well to deserve this. It is our victory, it is the victory of all Congolese. I dedicate this cup to the entire population of Eastern DRC because they have suffered a lot in war. This victory comes to wipe the tears. I’m really pleased,” said Alina, a female Congolese supporter.
DR Congo’s coach Florent Ibenge couldn’t help but laud Rwanda for hosting a very organised event.
“It’s a beautiful lesson also at the public level, because sometimes when we move we do not always notice fairplay. Here we experienced something not often seen in us. When it is positive it must be credited. We beat Rwanda in Rwanda and went out smoothly, and on the contrary it was applauded. I can not imagine it in Kinshasa,” he said.
The Leopards have now established themselves as the dominant side of the biennial tournament whose 4th edition was wrapped up on Sunday with a rain-soaked final inside a packed, noisy Amahoro Stadium in Kigali, Rwanda.
DR Congo won the maiden title in 2009 hosted by this year’s third place finishers Cote D’Ivoire.
Sunday’s victory also means The Leopards have won the CHAN title as many times as they have the Africa Cup of Nations, in 1968 and in 1974.