Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
CONGOLESE coach Valdo Finho has conceded the Red Devils’ AFCON mission in Harare tomorrow has been complicated by the absence of injured star Thievy Bifouma.
The Turkey-based forward, the team’s leading scorer in the current AFCON qualifiers, has been ruled out because of a long-term injury.
Bifouma scored when the two teams drew 1-1 in Brazzaville last year.
“Bifouma is the best scorer of the team, but he is not the only one absent, Kibamba Baron is also missing,’’ the Brazilian gaffer said.
“For Thievy Bifouma, it’s hard to find a player who looks like him. He is unique, he has his own way of playing and taking the team (forward).
“Whether it’s me, or my predecessors, I’m talking about (Claude) Leroy, (Pierre) Lechantre or Sebastian) Migne, we always adapted to him.
‘’When he is missing, it’s hard to find one like him, but others also can do a few things.’’ They will now be banking on Prince Vinny Ibara of USM Alger, Ulrich Kapolongo, Dylan Bahamboula (CS Constantine), Merveil Ndockyt (Barcelona B, Spain) and Junior Makiesse of Al Ahly Tripoli to lead the attack. Bahamboula said they could qualify for the AFCON finals.
“We can qualify for AFCON. It is a pride to play at AFCON. We will do whatever is necessary to tackle this game, we know that Zimbabwe is a good team,” said Bahamboula.
The Red Devils were scheduled in Harare shortly before midnight yesterday.
The travelling party, comprising 16 foreign-based players and 11 from the domestic league, took a charter flight from Brazzaville.
Zimbabwe already have one foot in the finals as they need only a draw.
“We are ready for this Sunday,’’ said Valdo.
‘’We did not have enough time because of the delays and the FIFA date that gives us not enough of the time, but we are ready.
“We have offensive assets such as Dylan Bahamboula (CS Constantine), Merveil Ndockyt (Barcelona B / D3 Spain), Prince Vinny Ibara (USM Alger), Ulrich Kapolongo or Junior Makiesse (Al Ahly Tripoli) to win this game.’’
Goalkeepers: Christoffer Mafoumbi (Blackpool / D3 England), Congo), Wilfrigon Mongondza (AS Otoho / Congo),
Defenders: Marvin Baudry (Zulte Waregem / Belgium), Fernand Mayembo (Le Havre / Ligue 2 France), Hugo Konongo (Cherno More Varna / Bulgaria), Romaric Etou (Beitar Tel Aviv Ramla / D2 Israel), Baron Kibamba (Real Linense / D3 Spain), Faitout Maouassa (Nimes Olympique / Ligue 1 France), Dimitri Bissiki (AS Otoho / Congo).
Midfielders: Prince Oniangue (SM Caen / Ligue 1 France), Delvin Ndinga (Sivasspor / Turkey), Amour Loussoukou (Stade Tunisien / Tunisia), Durel Avounou (US Orleans / Ligue 2 France), Eden Massouema (Valenciennes / Ligue 2 France), Burnallerge Etou (AS Beziers / Ligue 2 France), Merveil Ndockyt (Barcelona B / D3 Spain).
Strikers: Prince Vinny Ibara (USM Alger / Algeria), Junior Makiesse (Al Ahli Tripoli / Libya), Dylan Bahamboula (CS Constantine / Algeria), Mavis Tchibota (Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv / Israel), Bercyl Obassi (Stade Tunisien / Tunisia), Cabwey Kivutuka (Charlotte Independant/D2 United States), Dylan Saint-Louis (Paris FC / Ligue 2 France).