DR Congo captain Zakuani upbeat ahead of Ghana clash

The Leopards skipper says they are aiming to go a step further than their achievement in the previous Afcon

DR Congo captain Gabriel Zakuani says their objective is to improve on the performance they exhibited at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea.

The Leopards finished third in the previous edition and have qualified to the quarterfinals this time around in Gabon, after topping Group C to set up a date with Group D runners-up Ghana at the Stade d'Oyem on Sunday.

“The aim this time again is to go as far as possible. We are top of the group in our World Cup qualifiers, and we came 3rd in the last Africa Cup of Nations so our aim is always to go to win the game against Ghana and then see how far it takes us,” Zakuani told Kingfut.com.

“Both of them [Ghana and Egypt] are very strong teams. I feel Ghana have a very good attack and Egypt are very good technically and very good defensively so each of those teams would cause us different problems, both are tough,” he added.

The Leopards will miss the services of Yannick Bolasie, who provided two assists to Jeremy Bokila two years ago at this same stage against their neighbours Congo. The Crystal Palace striker sustained a knee injury in December but Zakuani believes they have men to replace him.

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“Yannick is a big part of our squad and he contributes a lot to the team, it’s always a big blow to lose an important player like that, but we have good replacements who are taking their opportunity,” he said.

“Yannick is my best friend in and out of football so I’ve spent a lot of time at his house looking after him, and I know how hard he works so I expect him to come back even better and stronger. He’s very strong mentally,” he added.

Ghana are hoping to qualify to the semi-finals for a sixth consecutive time since 2008 and possibly end a 35-year trophy drought.

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