President’s Cup Group I: Mini African championship gets underway

21 Jan. 2021

President’s Cup Group I: Mini African championship gets underway

Just one game takes place at the Dr Hassan Moustafa Sports Hall in Giza with neighbouring countries DR Congo and Angola going head-to-head – and both seeking their first win or draw.

In fact, the newly-built venue is also home to the new ‘African Handball Academy’ and it is a perfect location for what will be a mini, unofficial, African championship as Tunisia join their two continental rivals in what is essentially a round-robin tournament for 29-31 place.

32nd place is already confirmed, after Cape Verde withdrew their participation at Egypt 2021.

Angola vs DR Congo 19:00 CAT

While all the talk – at least on social media – is about DR Congo’s Gauthier Mvumbi, the rest of his side are quietly going about their business in the debut IHF Men’s World Championship.

They are appearing at the first time at any level in a Men’s World Championship – youth, junior and senior – and seem unphased about stepping onto the world stage.

Coached by Francis Tuzolana, they came to Egypt having gained the last direct qualification place from the 2020 CAHB Men’s African Championship in Tunisia and they will revisit a main round clash later today.

‘Les Léopards’, as DR Congo are known, faced Angola in Tunisia, losing 30:25 after taking a 13:11 lead in the half-time locker room, but will history repeat, and DR Congo let slip a chance to take their first-ever IHF Men’s World Championship points or not?

They have had some impressive halves at Egypt 2021 so far, leading Argentina 14:13 at the break and running Bahrain close in their first half, 12:14, a game in which Mvumbi took the best player award. However, they have nothing to show for their exploits so far, despite Aurelien Tchitombi sitting third in the Egypt 2021 assists table, on 21, two behind Rodrigo Salinas and Sander Sagosen, but having played one game less.

Angola have been even closer, losing their final group game by just one goal, against Japan in a match where they dominated the second half, winning it 17:14. They were also just one goal behind against Bahrain and Croatia at half-time, signalling, perhaps, that they are the supreme team in this clash today.

The one thing both DR Congo and Angola have in common – Icelandic coaches were responsible for ending their main round dreams in their final preliminary group games. Dagur Sigurdsson with Japan, and Halldor Sigfusson with Bahrain.

Johan Kawola is top-scorer for DR Congo, on 14 goals, while Manuel Nascimento sits on nine for Angola to lead their chart.