DR Congo national football team was formerly known by the name of the Zaire national football team. This national team of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is controlled by the Federation Congolaise de Football-Association (FECOFA) and is nicknamed as the Leopards.
The team has been ranked in 51st place in the FIFA Rankings and was the first Sub-Saharan African team to qualify for the FIFA World Cup. They won the Africa Cup of Nations twice. The head coach of the team is Claude Le Roy with the home stadium being Stade des Martyrs.
The team, which was known by the name of Congo-Kinshasa, had its first international success at the African Cup of Nations in 1968, held in Ethiopia. They beat Ghana in the finals by 1-0. Their biggest victory came on 22nd November 1969 when they recorded 10-1 home victory against Zambia.
From 1971 to 1997, the country and so also the team were known by the name of Zaire. The first game of this team by the name of Zaire was played in Cameroon against Sudan. Sudan won this match by 3-0.
After six years, Zaire won the 1974 African Cup of Nations in Egypt, recording 2-1 victory against Guinea team, another 2-1 victory against rival team, Congo and a 4-1 victory against Mauritius. Zaire, later on beat hosts Egypt by 3-2. In the finals, Zaire drew with Zambia 2-2, due to which the match got replayed after two days, where Zaire won the match by 2-0. Mulamba Ndaye, the Zaire player, was top scorer of the match with 9 goals.
Zaire was the first black African team to have participated in a FIFA World Cup. With a disappointing start in 1974 FIFA World Cup, this team 9-0 defeat against Yugoslavia remains a World Cup record defeat.
From 1992 to 1996, Zaire team reached 3 consecutive African Cup of Nations quarter finals. In 1992, this team was beaten by Nigeria team, and in 1994 they were beaten by Ghana team. It was in 1997, when the team changed their name from Zaire to DR Congo and played their first match by this name on 8th June 1997 in Brazzaville, with 1-0 victory. Later on, at the 1998 African Cup of Nations, the team which was led by Louis Watunda Lyolo took third place, beating Burkina Faso by 4-1 on penalties.
At the African Cup of Nations 2000, DR Congo finished in third place in the group and by 2002, was eliminated in the quarter finals by the team of Senegal. In 2004, this team was eliminated by 3 straight defeats in the group stages and in 2006, the team which was led by Claude Le Roy, was eliminated in the quarter finals by 4-1 by Egypt.
The team was drawn in group 10 for qualifications for the African Cup of Nations 2008, along with other teams of Ethiopia, Namibia and Libya. The Congo DR team led the group on the penultimate day, drawing 1-1 with Libya and Namibia beating Ethiopia with 3-2. With this, Namibia reached finals and Congo DR finished in the tenth place. With this, Congo DR even failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2010. In 2009, Congo DR won the African Championship of Nations defeating Ghana in the final match.