***I DON’T HAVE FIFA’S PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT TO USE, TALK, THINK OR EVEN YELL AT RANDOS FROM MY BALCONY ABOUT ANY NAMES, COUNTRIES OR EVENTS MENTIONED IN MY FIFA WORLD CUP QATAR 2022 COVERAGE, SO FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS FROM HERE ON IN, THE EVENT WILL BE REFERRED TO AS QLAMQTAR 2022.***
The Qlamqtar 2022 World Cup is only about 8 moons away (depending on your own set of lunar circumstances) and the first ever World Cup held in the Arab world promises to be a real doozy. World Cup history is a tale resplendent with stories of triumph against the odds, childhood dreams coming true and unsung heroes becoming legends. As well as dumb idiot losers, wanker fuck ups and teams that are just total bullshit.
But how shall ye learn about these legends, losers and teams that are just total bullshit? Well look no further my wayward friend as I profile all 211 FIFA nations eligible for World Cup qualification. Today, I take a look at Democratic Republic of Congo, which has qualified for the World Cup once, in 1974.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
No No No
Nickname: The Leopards
FIFA Ranking: 66 (Feb 2022)
FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualification result: Lost in CAF final playoff round to Morocco (5-2 agg)
Aside from that one time when they qualified for the 1974 World Cup (finishing with 0-14 goal difference), every time DR Congo has tried taken its World Cup campaign to the rack, it’s been rejected. The Leopards have tried and tried and tried, but aside from their disastrous World Cup appearance in West Germany, every single time they go for the final blow, they’re thwarted right on the doorstep.
Although DR Congo, were the first ever sub-Saharan African nation to qualify for the World Cup (then as Zaire), every other time it’s tried to reach football’s greatest stage since, it’s put right back in its place. No matter what DR Congo tries, even if it makes a few good early moves, there’s always someone right there at their goal who stuffs it, throws it to the ground, defiantly waves a winger in DR Congo’s face and dismisses them with a stern ‘No No No. Not In My House.’
DR Congo’s most recent drive to the goal, in 2022 World Cup qualifying, looked promising. First, they did what they needed to do in the group stage by taking care of weaker opposition in Benin, Tanzania and Madagascar with relative ease. This set up a playoff clash with north African heavyweights Morocco, and initially things looked bright after a 1-1 draw in Kinshasa. But just when it thought that it might just be heading to Qatar, yet again DR Congo was told to ‘Get out of my house’, this time by the Atlas Lions, 5-2 on aggregate.
With an expanded World Cup to come in 2026, the Leopards may be able to drive past and beat the giant finger-waving World Cup gatekeeper, allowing it to maybe put in a chaos-free showing this time. The 48-team format might be just what DR Congo needs to stop hearing ‘No No No, GET OUT OF MY HOUSE’, and for a second time be able to snap back, ”YES YES YES. IN YOUR HOUSE PLEASE.’
One to watch: The greatest freekick strike in World Cup history, Brazil vs Zaire, West Germany 1974
Deep into the second half of Zaire’s final group stage against Brazil, a free kick was won in a dangerous position on the edge of the box. As both teams prepared for its taking, the late Zaire defender Ilunga Mwepu then stepped up and struck the ball with such venom that it left Brazil and the world stunned. Mwepu’s bullet was the most powerful and greatest free kick ever hit in the history of World Cup teams trying to protest stick it to its home country’s criminal oppressive autocratic dictator for exploiting the national team for political means while pilfering the entirety of match fees and qualification bonuses owed to the players and threatening them and their families. It failed to have the desired effect (the usual aim of a free kick-to get red carded), but what a strike it was.
The Highpoint: The 1974 World Cup, but in a fucked up way
Throughout the 1960s and early 70s, then Zaire president Joseph-Désiré Mobutu invested heavily in the national soccer team, using it as propaganda tool and to further his own political ambitions. And it bore fruit, with the team winning the 1968 and and 1974 African Cup of Nations, before sensationally claiming a spot at the 1974 World Cup in West Germany.
Team members were each given a new house and car and things were looking good. Then, despite a narrow 2-0 loss to Scotland in their World Cup opener, it all went to shit. President Mobutu told the players they wouldn’t be paid, they had their qualification bonuses seized by national team officials and their match payments withheld, and as a result the squad refused to play. Mobutu threatened them, making it very clear that should they not take the field against Yugoslavia, they better find a new country to go back to and perhaps maybe they should say goodbye to their families one last time too. Eventually the players backed down (after FIFA stepped in and provided the players with nominal match payments), but by that point, they understandably had had it with this World Cup shit.
Zaire lost its second match 9-0 to Yugoslavia (an equal World Cup record) and were told that if they lost their final group game against Brazil by four goals, they wouldn’t be allowed to return back to Zaire. They lost 3-0, went back home and were taken directly by army truck to president Mobutu’s residence, whereupon an enraged Mobutu told the squad, ‘”So you thought you would rebel? I gave you all a house and a car! Next time I’ll throw you all in jail.”
Mobutu told them were also now forbidden to leave the country, which scuppered many of their plans to sign for foreign clubs. Players were denied the chance to even test the waters abroad and chase the potential spoils of contracts typically awarded to selected World Cup soccer players post-tournament. One of Zaire’s players then also became homeless and in 2012, a charity fund was set up to provide the surviving members with a monthly small pension of a couple hundred dollars. Whether you believe in them or not, it can’t be denied that Zaire were a real fucked up fairytale of the 1974 World Cup.
Learn the lingo & speak like a local!
AFRICAN CUP OF NATIONS IVORY COAST 2023 | QUALIFYING GROUP STAGE
4 June 2022
DR CONGO 🇨🇩 x 🇬🇦 GABON
8 June 2022
SUDAN 🇸🇩 x 🇨🇩 DR CONGO
19 Sep 2022
DR CONGO 🇨🇩 x 🇲🇷 MAURITANIA