DR Congo AFCON 2023 Preview and Predicted XI – The Leopards aiming for a third trophy

The Democratic Republic of Congo are looking to bounce back at this year's AFCON having failed to qualify back in 2021, which has certainly impacted their FIFA rankings as they are only seen as the 13th best African country at the moment, so achieving greatness would be a shock in their 20th appearance.

How did DR Congo qualify for AFCON?

Despite topping their group in qualifying, it was far from convincing or a pleasant watch from DR Congo. They won four of their six matches but managed to also taste defeat twice in a relatively easy group, which consisted of Mauritania, Gabon and Sudan, but topping the group was all that mattered.

DR Congo are two-time winners of AFCON.

DR Congo AFCON 2023 preview

Who will DR Congo play at AFCON 2023?

DR Congo are up against it in the Ivory Coast as they'll face Morocco, Zambia and Tanzania, with the former having reached the semi-finals of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, so are expected to storm this group.


Morocco are heavy favourites to win AFCON 2023 after a stunning 2022 World Cup as they became the first African country to reach a semi-final, and they'll be gunning for just their second title, having won in Ethiopia back in 1976.

This Morocco squad is littered with talent and have scary options going forward including Hakim Ziyech, Youssef En-Nesyru and Azzedine Ounahi who are starring for clubs across Europe.

Morocco are strong favourites to win AFCON 2023. – Photo by Icon sport


Zambia were crowned champions back in 2012 when they beat Ivory Coast on penalties to cause a major upset. But in the two tournaments that followed, they failed to advance out of the group stages, before not qualifying at all for the following three AFCON. As such, they are going to be lurking for that second spot alongside DR Congo, but don't expect much else from them.


This will be Tanzania's third appearance at AFCON and are yet to win a single game so will be hoping to pull off an upset in Group F, however, it's looking very unlikely and their nation will be more than delighted to have just made it to the Ivory Coast.

Tanzania are yet to win a game at AFCON. Photo by Icon sport

How far will DR Congo go?

Despite being a dominant nation during the early years of AFCON, DR Congo have fallen down the rankings in recent times. After failing for the 2021 tournament, just advancing out of the group stages should be seen as a success for a country that can't boast the same level of talent as nations such as Morocco, Senegal and Ivory Coast.

DR Congo – Predicted AFCON 2023 XI


Lionel Mpasi-Nzau had only made one start for his country heading into 2023, with his role in the team looking unclear. He is now the undisputed number one heading into AFCON 2023, having started six of the last seven matches for DR Congo, and will be busy between the sticks for his country.


DR Congo have been rocked by the hamstring injury sustained by Arthur Masuaku which could now force him to miss AFCON 2023, handing the chance to Joris Kayembe who may deputise at left-back despite having just three caps to his name.

At centre back, it's more straightforward, with ex-Newcastle United star and DR Congo captain, Chancel Mbemba one of the first names on the team sheet and will be partnered by veteran Henoc Inonga.

Their right-back is likely to be Gedeon Kalulu who can provide an attacking threat to this older DR Congo defence with his performances in Ligue 1 this season showing he has the consistency to be a solid player at AFCON.


It will be a defensive approach from DR Congo at AFCON 2023 with a midfield duo of Samuel Moutoussany and Charles Pickel. Those two will have the gruelling job of shielding a shaky back four and ensuring they stay as watertight as possible, which is the best way for them to advance out of Group F.

At the tip of midfield is likely to be the infamous Gael Kakuta, who once signed for Chelsea but ended up costing them a transfer ban. He netted once during qualifying and will be hoping to increase his influence at AFCON 2023.


An exciting front three will be on show, with Premier League star Yoane Wissa being deployed on the left after an increased amount of game time this season, and on the opposite wing will be Grady Diangana.

Although Theo Bongonda has been handed appearances more frequently as of late, Diangana's quality is much more important to DR Congo.

They will all be looking to supply DR Congo's top scorer of all-time Cedric Bakambu, who could do very well to make a case for AFCON 2023 top scorer if they make it out of the group stages.

Be sure to check out many more free betting tips this midweek as well as heading into AFCON 2023.

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Aaron Hindhaugh

Aaron is a multi-skilled sports content writer and media professional. He is a specialist in both Men's and Women's football, along with golf.