Matchworn by Maël Lepicier 14.08.13 TUN 🇹🇳 : COG 🇨🇬 3 - 0
If the two Congos were sisters, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa) would certainly be the flamboyant and extroverted one, whereas the Republic of the Kongo (Congo-Brazzaville) would be more reserved and unimposing.
Both Congos, separated by the eponymous river, look back at a turbulent past. While it’s bigger brother once was a Belgian colony and later transformed into the country of Zaïre, the Republic of the Congo used to be French and retained the name “Congo” over the years. To make family matter more complicated, both Congos once had a lost brother, named “Portugese Congo” who has now become Cabinda exclave belonging to Angola.
To end this dry history lesson on a lighter note, I have to mention a Congolese national player that always amused me, when I browsed through the annual “Kicker” special edition: Bongo Christ. While being a kick-ass name for African percussion group, Bongo (from the Congo) used to player for (then) third tier club Hannover 96 and also earned four caps for Congo’s national team. Although he can’t be considered a legendary player, he certainly joins the ranks of other ridiculously named footballers, such as Argelico Fucks and Creedence Clearwater Couto.
The football history of the Republic of the Congo is quickly told: even though they are not a regular in the Africa Cup, the actually won the trophy in 1972. Ever since, their footballing successes restrict themselves to irregular participations in the Africa Cup and a few unexpected performances, such as a 5th place in their 2015 outing in the cup.
The shirt comes from French-Congolese defender Maël Lepicier who played the bulk of his career in Belgium and donned the national shirt twenty times. One of those times was a friendly played against Tunisia in 2013, that the Republic of the Congo lost 3-0 and which was the day my very shirt saw its first usage.
Presumably a template, the shirt is made of a thick fabric and features a nice embroidered badge. Congolese shirts are very rare, which makes this a fantastic addition to my collection and brings me a big step further to finishing my quest.