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The Red Devils of Congo have qualified for their first CHAN tournament under new coach Kamel Djabour who was appointed last year.
The qualification for CHAN 2014 is the Frenchman’s first national team appointment and success at this level after previously working as club coach in places in Benin and Mali.
Congo who narrowly missed out on a place in the last round of qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup will be eager to make a mark in the continental tournament which will be held in South Africa at the start of next year.
En route to South Africa, Congo beat the Central African Republic 3-0 in the first round before CAR withdrew before the return leg could be played.
They then lost 2-1 away to the Democratic Republic of Congo in the second round but won 1-0 in the return leg to qualify on away goals rule.
The Congolese side will be much changed to the one that participated in World Cup qualifying, with about half of that squad playing their football in Europe or other parts of Africa.
Congo were unlucky not to qualify for the 2014 African Nations Championship quarterfinal in their debut tournament outing.
The Red Devils were on the verge of a last eight qualification but a sucker punch from Libya in the dying seconds of their Group C encounter knocked them out of the tournament.
Congo kicked off their campaign on a bad note with a 1-0 loss at the hands of an uninspired Ghana side who won that game via a rather fortunate goal by Théophilus Anobaah.
But they bounced back in their second match after defeating Ethiopia courtesy of a lone effort from AC Léopards’ skipper Rudy Guelord Bhebey Ndey.
The Red Devils then entered their do-or-die clash with Libya at full steam, taking a two-goal advantage before the hour mark with two unanswered goals by talented youngsters Moïse Nkounkou and Hardy Binguila.
However, the Libyans fought back to break The Red Devils hearts with a 93rd minute equaliser by defender Abdelrahman Fetori.
The painful experience should however serve the Congolese side in their future international campaigns, starting with the 2015 AFCON qualifiers.