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Le Roy tips hat to Congo players



BATA, Equatorial Guinea, January 22 – Congo Brazzaville’s veteran French coach Claude Le Roy on Wednesday hailed his unfancied team after a 1-0 win against Gabon left them on the brink of a place in the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals.

Gabon failed to convert a host of chances and instead Congo captain Prince Oniangue scored the only goal of the game early in the second half in Bata to leave his side on top of Group A after two matches.

“Our players are still discovering the Cup of Nations. They are all very good but they still have a lot of room for improvement. We performed to our full potential,” said Le Roy, who is appearing at his eighth Cup of Nations as a coach.

“Our game plan worked well and we were lucky that Gabon did not convert their chances.”

It was a historic night for the country, as they celebrated their first win at the finals since 1974, when they reached the semi-finals in Egypt.

Le Roy added: “Hats off to this Congo team for their morale and mental qualities. I have practically never had a team that works so well tactically, even if we are lacking in certain areas.

“For the moment we are first but we are not through. We are very happy and it is Congo’s first win at the CAN in 41 years.”

His side now need just a point against Burkina Faso in their last group game on Sunday to secure a place in the quarter-finals, but Le Roy insists they will go out to win.

“I was a striker and I am the worst coach in the world at playing for a draw. If we go out looking for a draw, I should be sacked right away. We will play as we normally do — to win.”