President's Cup throws off with a bang, as Congo win maiden match

06 Dec. 2023

President's Cup throws off with a bang, as Congo win maiden match

Kazakhstan and Congo opened the President's Cup in Frederikshavn with an entertaining match, full of twists and turns, with the African side eventually coming out on top with their first win at Denmark/Norway/Sweden 2023, 37:36. 

President’s Cup Group II
Kazakhstan vs Congo 36:37 (18:15)

Congo had the early momentum by getting a three-goal lead, boosted by the great performance of right back Jonedie Olikaka, who got her first chance at the world flagship competition.

Leading for 20 minutes, Congo made Kazakhstan struggle, but when Damira Zhaparova took her place between the posts for the Asian side, the tide began to turn. Three straight saves followed by four turnovers soon left Congo reeling and with a 6:0 unanswered run, Kazakhstan morphed their three-goal deficit into a 13:11 lead.

As the halftime break was approaching, the Asian side further stretched the gap, after a top-notch performance of Sevara Rejmetova and Kristina Radayeva. Congo's Fanta Diagouraga did not have much playing time in the first half, but when she stepped on the court in the second part the Congolese game had a better flow, as the top scorer at Denmark/Norway/Sweden 2023, with 26 goals, started to shine.

Adding a stronger defensive approach and Alicia Louise Ntessi's saves, Congo came back in the match and with 15 minutes to go, the two teams were still in a deadlock, 28:28.

Diagouraga, the hummel Player of the Match, continued to pounce and with three straight goals helped Congo seal the lead, 30:29, with 13 minutes before the final buzzer. From that moment on, both sides traded leads, while Kazakhstan even had a two-goal lead with three minutes on the clock. 

Three turnovers for the Asian side turned the flow again, as Congo had the last attack in the game. Once again, it was Diagouraga who decided everything, as she saw Josephine Line Maxime Nkou alone on the left wing just five seconds before the final whistle and a beautiful in-flight goal sealed an important 37:36 win for Congo, their maiden here, at Denmark/Norway/Sweden 2023.

In the next round, Kazakhstan will try to redeem themselves against Chile, aiming to stop a four-game losing streak, while Congo face with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

hummel Player of the Match: Fanta Diagouraga (Congo)