We look ahead to this AFCON 2023 Group F fixture at the Laurent Pokou Stadium in San-Pédro with our DR Congo vs Zambia prediction and preview.

DR Congo vs Zambia: Pre-Match Facts

  • The Opta supercomputer predicts that DR Congo are most likely to win this fixture, with them winning 41% of the 10,000 pre-match simulations.
  • DR Congo and Zambia will be meeting at a third Africa Cup of Nations, after 1974 and 2015. Fifty years ago, they faced each other in the final (DR Congo as Zaire), which was the only occasion that the showpiece match went to a replay (2-2 in the first match, 2-0 to Zaire in the replay). They also met in the group stages of the 2015 edition, which ended in a draw (1-1).
  • This is DR Congo’s 20th appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations, and their first since 2019. They have won the tournament on two occasions: in 1968 as Congo-Kinshasa and in 1974 as Zaire.
  • DR Congo have reached the knockout stages in four of their last five Africa Cup of Nations participations. However, their last appearance in the final was in 1974.
  • Seven of DR Congo’s last 12 AFCON group matches have ended in a draw (W3 L2).
  • DR Congo have lost more matches than any other team at the Africa Cup of Nations (29 out of 73).
  • This is Zambia’s 18th appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations and their first since 2015. The Chipolopolo won the title in 2012, beating Ivory Coast on penalties after a goalless final.
  • Six of Zambia’s last seven matches at the AFCON have ended in a draw (L1). Their last victory at the tournament came back in 2012, winning 1-0 against Ghana in the semi-finals before beating Ivory Coast on penalties in the final (0-0, 8-7 pens).
  • Zambia are unbeaten in their last five opening matches at the Africa Cup of Nations (W2 D3). The last time they lost their first match in an edition of the tournament was in 2006 (4-1 vs Tunisia).
  • Patson Daka scored 42% of Zambia’s goals in the qualifiers for this year’s Africa Cup of Nations (5/12). He made his international debut for the Chipolopolo four months after Zambia’s last AFCON appearance in 2015.
  • Zambia head coach Avram Grant is entering his third Africa Cup of Nations. He led Ghana to second place in 2015 and fourth place in 2017.

Match Preview

With DR Congo and Zambia drawn in Group F of AFCON 2023 alongside 2022 World Cup semi-finalists Morocco, there’s a general feeling this game could be decisive.

As suggested in our Group F preview for the tournament, DR Congo might have one of the outside bets for tournament top scorer in their ranks. Braga forward Simon Banza comes into AFCON 2023 as the leading goalscorer in the Portuguese Primeira Liga, with 14 strikes. He’s joined in attack by Brentford star Yoane Wissa, who has enjoyed a positive first half to the 2023-24 Premier League campaign.

Simon Banza Goals

DR Congo qualified for AFCON 2023 as winners of Group I ahead of Mauritania, Gabon and Sudan. They finished the group with 12 points from six matches, with their two losses coming against the two teams that didn’t qualify. DR Congo were actually bottom of the group after two matches before rallying impressively to secure their place at the tournament.

DR Congo have previously qualified for AFCON 19 times, winning it twice, in 1968 and most recently in 1974, beating Ghana and Zambia in the finals respectively. In addition, they have finished third twice (1998, 2015) and fourth in 1972. DR Congo’s last appearance at AFCON was in 2019, when they reached the round of 16 before losing to Madagascar on penalties.

The Zambians are back at AFCON for the first time since 2015, with this their 18th participation overall. In fact, the last time they won a match at the Africa Cup of Nations was in 2012, when they eventually edged the final on penalties against Ivory Coast. They haven’t won any of their six AFCON games since that success.

Now led by veteran coach Avram Grant, Zambia qualified for AFCON 2023 as Group H winners, ahead of host nation Ivory Coast (who were guaranteed a place in the tournament anyway), Comoros and Lesotho. They won 13 points from their six matches, with their only loss coming against Ivory Coast in their first match despite a 94th-minute Patson Daka consolation goal to make it 3-1. Daka’s five goals in qualifying was only surpassed by Victor Osimhen (10).

Zambia have previously participated at AFCON 17 times. They have won it once, in 2012, beating Ivory Coast 8-7 on penalties following a 0-0 draw after extra time. They have also come second twice, and third three times. Zambia’s last appearance at AFCON was in 2015, when they disappointingly didn’t make it out of the group after going ahead but losing 2-1 to Tunisia.

DR Congo vs Zambia Head-to-Head

This will be the fourth meeting between these two teams at the Africa Cup of Nations. They met in the final 50 years ago in 1974 (DR Congo as Zaire), with Zaire eventually winning 2-0 in a replay after the original match ended 2-2 two days earlier. This is the only AFCON final to ever go to a replay.

The last match between DR Congo and Zambia at the AFCON ended in a 1-1 draw in the group stage of the 2015 tournament.

DR Congo vs Zambia Prediction

DR Congo vs Zambia Prediction

The Opta supercomputer predicts DR Congo will win this AFCON 2023 group stage game against Zambia, with the Leopards winning 43.0% of the pre-match simulations.

In our pre-tournament AFCON 2023 predictions (before a ball was kicked), both of these nations were considered rank outsiders for the trophy, with DR Congo the 11th favourites (2.4%), well away from nations such as Senegal (12.8%), Ivory Coast (12.1%), Morocco (11.1%), Algeria (9.7%) and Egypt (8.5%).

Below are their current, up-to-date chances of progression through AFCON 2023 according to the Opta supercomputer following the opening matches of the tournament:

DR Congo vs Zambia Squads

DR Congo: Baggio Siadi, Lionel Mpasi, Dimitry Bertaud, Arthur Masuaku, Henock Inonga, Chancel Mbemba, Rocky Bushiri, Joris Kayembe, Dylan Batubinsika, Gédéon Kalulu, Gaël Kakuta, Brian Bayeye, Grady Diangana, Samuel Moutoussamy, Aaron Tshibola, Charles Pickel, Yoane Wissa, Simon Banza, Meschack Elia, Fiston Mayele, Théo Bongonda, Silas Katompa Mvumpa, Cédric Bakambu.

Coach: Sébastien Desabre

Zambia: Toaster Nsabata, Lawrence Mulenga, Francis Mwansa, Stoppila Sunzu, Lubambo Musonda, Benson Sakala, Gift Mphande, Dominic Chanda, Tandi Mwape, Benedict Chepeshi, Frankie Musonda, Zephaniah Phiri, Emmanuel Banda, Roderick Kabwe, Kings Kangwa, Clatous Chama, Rally Bwalya, Lameck Banda, Frederick Mulambia, Kelvin Kampamba, Golden Mafwenta, Kelvin Kapumbu, Miguel Chaiwa, Fashion Sakala, Edward Chilufya, Patson Daka, Kennedy Musonda.

Coach: Avram Grant

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