DR Congo coach Otis Ngoma has assumed responsibility for his team's early exit at the 2022 TotalEnergies African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Algeria.
The Leopards suffered a 3-0 defeat to Senegal on Sunday at the 19 May 1956 stadium in Annaba, and leave the competition bottom of Group B with two points.
"I am disappointed with today's performance. I take responsibility for this," Ngoma told the press in Annaba.
"I brought players here who we considered the best, but now we realized that they couldn't deliver. This generation of players are at the end of their dominance. I took over in September and by November we were playing the league, unfortunately we had players lagging physically. I repeat I take responsibility for my choices."
The Leopards were reduced to ten, when Kevin Mundeko Zatu was shown straight red in the first half. Ngoma refused to blame his side's defeat to their numerical deficiency throughout the majority of the game.
"Senegal has an excellent team. They came into this game with athletic players from good preparations. They had players with 19 and 20 VMA (Maximum Aerobic Speed) , something which we didn't have. The difference today was made in terms of preparations which impacted performance.
"We have a generation which has come to the end of the cycle."
Quizzed on if he will leave his position as coach of the Leopards, the 58-year-old tactician said resigning is not a solution.
"We have to carefully identify the problem. Resignation is not a solution. We need a real project to motivate any coach to do this job.
"If we need to get better we need to start from the base. From the youth teams. If we train good players from the youth national teams, we can have continuity and results. This tournament was part of the evaluation of our players.
"Some of our players discovered the top level here. I come from a country which is proactive not reactive. We solved all our internal problems in Kinshasa so our elimination can't be blamed on that.
"Our squad had less quality than others. We have noted and will learn from our mistakes," Ngoma concluded.
DR Congo has won the CHAN twice (2009 and 2016), and have reached the quarter-final in each of their three other participations (2011, 2014, and 2020).
TotalEnergies CHAN 2022 is the worst in the history of the country, which has a joint highest number of CHAN trophies with Morocco.
With the exits of DR Congo and Libya as well as the absence of Morocco, there will be a new CHAN champion by the end of this tournament being played in Algeria.