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BATTLE FOR CONSOLATION PRIZE: Leopards Face South Africa In AFCON Third Place Play-Off Contest

After seeing their dreams of reaching the final dashed, DR Congo national team will have to settle for a third place finish as consolation as they face South Africa on Saturday at the 2023 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.

The Leopards suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of hosts, the Elephants of Ivory Coast, to miss out on their first AFCON final in four decades.

Striker Sebastian Haller scored the important for Ivory Coast in the second-half to sink the Leopards who had a resilient yet reserved outing at the tournament.

Sebastian Desabre’s charges will now battle against the Bafana Bafana at the Stade Fèlix Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan in a match that play as curtain raiser for Sunday’s final between the host nation and Nigeria.

At the post-match press conference following last Wednesday’s semi-final defeat, Desabre said the Leopards’ AFCON campaign gave him and his technical staff chance to assess his side going into other upcoming competitions.

Therefore, the Frenchman could use tonight’s match against Bafana Bafana to test the depth of his squad and give chance to some of the players who have been sparlingly used at the tournament.

The likes of captain Chancel Mbemba, striker Cedric Bakambu, Yoane Wissa, Theo Bongonda and other key players could be rested with Dylan Batubinsika, Silas Katompa, Simon Banza and Fiston Mayele Kalala given a ran out.

Meanwhile, the Leopards’ opponents Bafana Bafana who succumbed to Nigeria on penalties in the semi-finals, could also hold out to clinch third-place as consolation.

The Bafana Bafana last finished third at an AFCON at the 2000 edition while the Leopards took bronze at the tournament in 2015.

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