The National Sport of DR Congo is Soccer.
Soccer in DR Congo fosters a sense of unity and pride, resonating deeply with the nation’s vibrant fan culture.
To learn more about sports culture in DR Congo, read our article about the most popular sports in DR Congo.
Table of Contents
#1 History of Soccer
- 1910-1920: Formation of multiple local clubs, laying the foundation for soccer in DR Congo.
- 1948: Establishment of the Congolese Football Federation (Fédération Congolaise de Football-Association).
- 1962: DR Congo (formerly Zaire) joined FIFA and began participating in international soccer competitions.
- 1968: DR Congo’s national team, The Leopards, won their first African Cup of Nations (AFCON) title.
- 1974: The Leopards became the first Sub-Saharan African team to qualify for a FIFA World Cup.
- 2009: TP Mazembe, a DR Congo club, became the first African team to reach the FIFA Club World Cup final.
- 2016: DR Congo’s national team won their second African Nations Championship (CHAN) title.
#2 Culture and Traditions
Soccer holds a significant place in DR Congo’s cultural identity, serving as a unifying force amongst diverse ethnic groups. The sport brings people together, providing a platform for social bonding and national pride.
DR Congo’s domestic league, Linafoot, captivates fans across the nation. The fierce rivalry between TP Mazembe and AS Vita Club transcends sport, contributing to a rich soccer culture. During international tournaments, such as the AFCON and CHAN, fans gather in public places to watch and celebrate their national team’s successes together.
Various grassroots initiatives, such as local tournaments and youth soccer programs, are ever-present throughout DR Congo. These events not only promote soccer, but also foster a sense of community and camaraderie among participants and spectators alike.
#3 How it Works: Rules, Gameplay and Equipment
📕 Rules & Gameplay
- Match Duration: A standard match consists of two halves, each lasting 45 minutes, with a 15-minute break in between.
- Objective: Each team tries to score by getting the ball into the opposing team’s goal.
- Players: Each team has 11 players, including one goalkeeper.
- Offside: A player is offside if they are nearer to the opponent’s goal than both the ball and the second-last opponent when the ball is played to them.
- Fouls: Direct and indirect free-kicks and penalty kicks are awarded for infringements of the rules.
⚙️ Equipment & Gear
- Ball: Round and made of leather or another suitable material.
- Goalposts: Located at each end of the field, they are 7.32 meters wide and 2.44 meters tall.
- Kits: Teams wear distinguishing kits, with goalkeepers wearing different colors to stand out.
- Shin Guards: Protection for players from potential tackles or hits.
- Boots: Specialized shoes designed for the sport’s requirements.
#4 Modern Development of Soccer
In contemporary times, soccer in DR Congo has embraced professionalism and modern practices to achieve international success. This includes the development and improvement of infrastructure, training facilities, and youth academies to nurture local talent and raise the profile of domestic clubs in international competitions.
Technological advancements have also played a role in DR Congo’s soccer development, with the introduction of digital media facilitating fan engagement and enhancing the domestic league’s reach. Live streaming of matches, social media updates, and increased sports journalism have contributed to the sport’s growing ubiquity within the nation.
Recent decades have also seen DR Congo’s national team and local clubs achieving success in various African soccer competitions. These successes have garnered attention and pride for the nation, encouraging the continued growth and development of soccer in DR Congo.
#5 Soccer and the Olympics
Soccer has been a part of the Olympic Games for many years, with the men’s competition first introduced in 1900 and the women’s in 1996. DR Congo has participated in the Olympic soccer tournaments, showcasing their talent and representing the nation on a global stage.
The Olympic Games have been instrumental in elevating soccer’s profile worldwide, providing a platform for talented athletes from all nations, including DR Congo, to compete and gain international recognition. This exposure has contributed to the sport’s growth and popularity in many countries, including DR Congo.
#6 Famous Athletes and Achievements
- Trésor Mputu: A prolific forward who has been a key player for both TP Mazembe and the DR Congo national team, contributing to several domestic and international titles.
- Robert Kidiaba: A legendary TP Mazembe goalkeeper, known for his unique goal celebrations and integral role in leading his club to multiple CAF Champions League titles.
- Yannick Bolasie: A talented winger, who despite being born in France, chose to represent DR Congo internationally and has since played a vital role for the national team in various competitions.
- Dieumerci Mbokani: A skilled forward who has experienced success at both club and national team levels, including winning the 2016 CHAN with DR Congo.
#7 Where to watch Soccer
- Broadcasting and streaming: International matches involving the DR Congo national team, as well as domestic league games, can be watched through various satellite and cable TV providers, like Canal+ Afrique or Startimes. For streaming options, customized services are often used to deliver live matches and highlights.
- Live experience: Fans can catch exhilarating live soccer action at notable stadiums in DR Congo, such as Stade des Martyrs (Kinshasa), Stade Frédéric Kibassa Maliba (Lubumbashi), and Stade Kashala Bonzola (Mbuji-Mayi).