Le Roy tells Congo to play without fear

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On the eve of the Africa Cup of Nations opener, Congo coach Claude Le Roy tells his team to play without fear at the tournament.

Congo coach Claude Le Roy has told his side to play without fear ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations opener against hosts Equatorial Guinea on Saturday.

It has been 15 years since Congo - the 1972 champions - qualified for the African showpiece, but they booked their spot in this year's tournament by finishing second in Group A of qualifying.

Le Roy is well aware that his inexperienced side are not fancied as one of the favourites to lift the title in February.

However, the Frenchman is adamant there is no pressure on his team, as he feels qualifying for the event after such a long absence is an achievement in itself.

"We have six players who are under 20 but all my boys like football, they like to play," he said.

"We have no pressure because for us the big target was to come back into the Africa Cup of Nations after 15 years of not qualifying. We will see how far we go.

"On a technical level, we are doing great and we understand that the host will have some limitations because of the short notice of organising the tournament. 

"We have told our players to be patient, to forget anything that is missing because of the time required to organise the Africa Cup and manage every situation well."