Outsiders Congo can cause an upset at Africa Cup of Nations
Congo are 40/1 with Coral to win the Africa Cup of Nations, though the tournament outsiders shocked a Nigeria team full of high profile players in qualifying, with a terrific 3-2 away win.
Former West Bromwich Albion striker Thievy Bifouma scored twice and assisted in the match and the 22-year-old now has three goals in eight appearances for his country. Now playing for Spanish club Almeria, he will be a lively threat for his country, and scored within 36 seconds for the Baggies on his debut in a 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace.
Encouragingly for Congo, every player in the squad is under 30, including their goalkeepers, so athleticism may play a part if they are to progress to the latter stages of the competition.
Hibernian striker Dominique Malonga, is also likely to feature for them, and the 26-year-old has scored eight times this season. Although his debut came last year, the player has the potential to form an effective partnership with Bifouma in attack, something which opponents will do well to be wary of.
Their two top scorers, both tied on four apiece are 26-year-old captain Prince Oniangue who plays for Reims and Guingamp striker Ladislas Douniama, two years his skipper’s senior.
The last time they won the Africa Cup of Nations was in 1972, when they defeated Mali 3-2 in the final, however, they have never qualified for a World Cup.
Their highest capped player, with 34 appearances is 26-year-old midfielder David N’Dinga who is on loan at Olympiakos from French club Monaco. He has scored just once in 28 times for the Greek outfit, and has six career goals, however he is more of a defensive midfielder.
Managed by Frenchman Claude Le Roy, who is well respected in the game, Congo are in capable hands, with the 66-year-old having vast experience being in charge of African nations, having previously been at the helm of rivals DR Congo. However, he rose to prominence in the 1980s, when his Cameroon side finished runners-up at the 1986 Africa Cup of Nations final, and then two years later were crowned champions.
After a stint in charge of Senegal taking them to the quarter finals of the African Cup of Nations, he returned to Cameroon and led them to World Cup in 1998. A decade later, Le Roy took Ghana to their highest ever position in the Fifa rankings; an impressive 14th, before quitting the post and taking charge of Oman, where he won the Gulf Nations Cup in 2009.
He certainly has an impressive resume, and despite Congo being tournament outsiders, they certainly seem to have the right man in charge to cause a few upsets.
Congo are 6/1 to win Group A which contains Burkina Faso, hosts Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.