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Africa Cup of Nations

Cedric Bakambu calls for DRC to axe head coach Florent Ibenge

2:56 PM GMT 29/07/2019
Florent Ibenge
After the Leopards' disappointing outing at Afcon, the Beijing Guoan attacker said it is time for change in national team leadership

Democratic Republic of the Congo international Cedric Bakambu believes Florent Ibenge's time is up as the national team coach.

Ibenge was appointed as DRC coach in 2014, and he guided them to a third-place finish at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, before winning the African Nations Championship (Chan) a year later.

During the 2019 Afcon in Egypt, the Leopards managed just a win in four games before bowing out of the continental competition in the Round of 16.

Madagascar eliminated them via penalties, after settling for a 2-2 draw at the end of regular time.

The former Villarreal attacker assessed the team's underwhelming display and has called for an overhaul of the technical staff for the team to progress.

"When a player is not performing well he is replaced. I think the same rule should be applied to all stakeholders of a team, be it the coach or FA officials," Bakambu told So Foot.

"Professional football demands competence, hard work and results at all levels. Personally, I think Florent Ibenge is no longer the right person for the current situation, although not forgetting the good work he achieved as a head coach of the team.

"When he came on board, the team's ranking was very low, but he was able to finish third at the 2015 Afcon and in the quarterfinals in 2017. But today, the team no longer progress. In order to move forward, I think the entire technical staff need to be replaced."

Chelsea legend Claude Makelele is reportedly nearing appointment as the next DRC coach after his recent outings in Kinshasa.

Makelele is not new to coaching, having managed Belgian outfit Eupen for two years and he also worked as Paul Clement's assistant at Swansea City.

Although Bakambu does not have an idea of recent happenings in the country's football, he admitted it would be an honour to play under the ex-France international.

"I am aware that Makelele was in Kinshasa last week to meet our President. But, personally, I don't know him so I really don't know what is happening," he added.

"All I know of him is that he was a great footballer. He knows football better than us and his experience gives him the credibility to vie for the post of DR Congo coach.

"I will not deny the fact that I would be honoured to work under Makelele. But, once more, I am not aware of anything. I am only waiting for updates."

After his Afcon assignment, Bakambu is back in China and he was in action for 90 minutes as Henan Jianye pipped Beijing Guoan to a 1-0 win on Saturday.

The 28-year-old has played seven league matches so far this season, with four goals to his credit.