Vanguard (Lagos)

23 January 2013

Nigeria: Mena to Restore Hope Against Congo DR

DR Congo will attempt to get their first win of this year's Africa Cup of Nations when they lock horns with the Mena of Niger at the Nelson Mandela Bay Sports Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Thursday.

Both countries are yet to cross paths in any level of football and this Group B clash promises fireworks as each of the teams aim at getting the maximum points which will urge them closer to the knockout stage.

On paper, it might look like a David and Goliath affair, but considering how the Nigeriens held Mali until the last minute before succumbing, there is much at stake in this epic clash.

With players such as Moussa Maazou, who has previously played at the highest level in France and Russia as well as Koffi Dan Kowa of Esperance Sportif du Zarziz, Abdul Karim Lacina of Cotton Sports Garoua, and Issoufou Boubacar Garba of Hammam, the Nigeriens can cause havoc if underrated.

The Leopards are also brimming with confidence after coming from two goals down to draw with group favourites Ghana, and they will be hoping to build on that and record their first win in this campaign.

Tressor Mputu, midfield anchor Youssoup Mulumbu, veteran Lomana Tressor Lua Lua and the free scoring Dieumerci Mbokani can lessen the load of the Leopards if they avoid complacency.

An interesting department of the game will be in the middle where the energy-sapping Mulumbu will battle for supremacy with young midfielder Amadou Moutari of French side Le Mans, who is likely to start.

The gangling central defence duo of Kowa and Koroumah Fatoukouma will also have an arduous task in their hands in keeping Mputu and Mbokani at bay.

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