The first two days of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) 2017 have produced some entertaining football, and the contest is going to get more intense as the competition moves ahead. In an event like the Afcon, teams are always keen to start the competition with a win. Morocco and DR Congo will also hope for a positive result when the two nations battle it out at Stade d'Oyem on Monday in the Group C clash.
Congo have not been able to win the Afcon after their triumph in 1968 and 1974, but they played some good football to finish third in 2015. However, it is not going to be easy for Congo in this edition of the Afcon as they are slotted in one of the tough groups. Morocco, Ivory Coast and Togo are the other teams in the group.
Things do not look too good for Congo elsewhere as well, as their players on Friday went on a strike due to their unpaid bonuses, but fans have assured that the players will give it their all against Morocco. Shrugging off their off-field problems, they need to concentrate on the match, and bring joy to their fans.
They might not have many stars in their side, but Congo will look forward to the services of Cedric Bakambu, who has been quite impressive in the La Liga for Villarreal. Along with him, Dieumerci Mbokani will also hope to shine against Morocco, who are ranked 57th in the world.
Morocco have not done anything massive in the competition after their 1976 Africa Cup of Nations triumph and their runners up finish in 2004. But there are great hopes from this Moroccan side, who have an experienced manager in the form of Frenchman Herve Renard. The manager knows how to win the Afcon as he helped Zambia emerge victorious in 2012 and got the same result from Ivory Coast in 2015.
The Frenchman knows that their immediate objective is to reach the quarterfinals, but the task is not easy in the tough group. He wants his players to be confident and turn themselves into believers ahead of the Afcon.
"The hardest part will be this first round with Ivory Coast and DR Congo, two massive teams, as well as Togo.I put pressure on myself because I am not afraid to say that not reaching the quarter-finals would be a failure. Morocco have not done anything in a major competition for 15 years [13 years, as they were 2004 AFCON finalists] now. That is a long time and there is a lot of expectation," Bein Sports quoted Renard as saying.
"The biggest problem for Morocco coming into this competition is to say to ourselves that we are capable of doing something and to go out and do it. We need to have confidence in ourselves, not fear anyone."
They have some quality players, who can light up the Afcon with their skills on the field. Players such as Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez, Mbark Boussoufa and skipper Medhi Benatia will hold the key for Morocco in their opening match.
When to Watch Live
Congo vs Morocco is scheduled for a 12.30am IST ( 7pm GMT, 2 pm ET) start.
Live Streaming and TV information:
India: TV: No live coverage.
Africa: TV: SuperSport4. Live Streaming: SuperSport live video.
UK: TV: EuroSport 1 UK. Live Streaming: EuroSport Player.
Australia: TV: Bein Sports. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect.