DR Congo manager Sebastien Desabre was left ruing missed opportunities as his side’s TotalEnergies CAF AFCON dream died against Cote d’Ivoire.
The Leopards succumbed 1-0 to the tournament hosts in Wednesday’s semi-final, with Sebastien Haller scoring the winner.
It means DR Congo miss out on a shot at a third continental crown.
Instead, Desabre and his players were left crestfallen after exiting despite a spirited display. “My first impression is disappointment, considering the course of the match,” lamented the Frenchman.
Desabre pointed to multiple chances spurned in the first half as proving pivotal. Cedric Bakambu had a goal harshly disallowed before Yoane Wissa wasted a glorious one-on-one.
“We didn’t take advantage of our momentum,” rued Desabre. “We tried to have all the offensive weapons to equalize, by changing the system, making substitutions, but unfortunately, it didn’t happen.”
Despite the heartbreak, Desabre praised the performance and effort of his Congolese warriors. He acknowledged they faced brilliant opponents in ‘s Elephants.
“It must be recognized that there was a great team from Cote d’Ivoire facing us. It didn’t come down to much. We’re disappointed tonight; we could have achieved a better result,” Desabre conceded.
Attention now turns to securing third place when DR Congo face South Africa on Saturday. “We are competitors, we need to quickly regroup. We have a match on Saturday to secure third place,” stated Desabre defiantly.
Reaching the last four capped impressive progress for DR Congo in Desabre’s first tournament. The Frenchman has moulded a youthful, dynamic team who could yet leave AFCON 2023 with heads held high.