South Africa and Congo DR square battle in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations third-place playoff on Saturday at Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium.
Both teams meet following heartbreaking losses in the semifinals; Bafana Bafana lost on penalties despite a strong performance against Nigeria, while the Leopards were defeated by the tournament’s hosts, Ivory Coast.
After the mental and physical strain of playing extra time in the quarter and semifinals, it will be interesting to see what South Africa has left in the tank when they play in the third-place match.
Hugo Broos’s team may still be in shock following their defeat by Nigeria on Wednesday, since they had taken the Super Eagles by surprise in the first half with their back three substitution and better cohesion.
After halftime, Sebastien Haller’s unconventional 65th-minute finish looped over Lionel M’pasi to seal the Leopards’ unwelcome streak of missing out on the championship game. Sebastien Desabre’s team lost 1-0 to the Elephants.
DRC enters the third-place match eager to finish their tournament on a high note. They had lost their last three semifinals, losing to Ivory Coast in 2015 and Bafana Bafana in 1998.
Desabre, which finished third in 1998 and 2015, is hoping that history would work in their favour on Saturday to erase the disappointment of losing to the hosts.
But the Leopards’ surprising success in the competition—they advanced out of their group without dropping a match and defeated Egypt on penalties—might cause concern for Saturday’s matchup.
Here is how both teams line up
DR Congo Starting XI
Yaka, Kifutu, Buduka, Tshibola, Diangana, Moutoussamy, Bongonda, Katompa, Ditu, Mbemba, Bokote
South Africa Starting XI
Williams, Mokoena, Modiba, Xulu, Magkopa, Zwane, Sithole, Sibisi, Mudau, Mayambela, Morena