Jan 9 (Reuters) - Factbox on African Nations Cup qualifiers Democratic Republic of Congo.
African Nations Cup record
Previous appearances in finals: (17) 1965, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1988, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2013, 2015
Best performance: Winners in 1968 and 1974
Drawn in Group C with the Ivory Coast, Morocco and Togo
Coach: Florent Ibenge
Ibenge was one of the finalists for the 2016 African Coach of the Year on the back of a strong performance by the national team plus his work with AS V. Club, the Kinshasa side he coaches.
The 55-year-old took Vita Club to an unexpected place in the 2014 African Champions League final, which they lost on away goals.
He is Congolese born but grew up in France and played lower league football in Belgium, France and Germany.
Ibenge has worked with Claude Le Roy, the veteran Frenchman who is now coach of group opponents Togo.
Key player: Chancel Mbemba. Age: 22. Defender.
Hard-tackling rock of the Congolese side who is also used in a defensive midfield role for the national team.
He has not been able to impose himself at Newcastle United over the last two seasons and has been touted for a possible loan move back to his old club Anderlecht from February.
But Mbemba is a consistent element in the national team, having made his debut at 18.
He was a squad member at the 2013 Nations Cup and a first choice in Equatorial Guinea two years later.
FIFA world ranking Dec. 2016: 48
How they qualified: First place in Group B, ahead of the Central African Republic, Angola and Madagascar.
Goalkeepers: Joel Kiassumbua (FC Wohlen), Nicaise Kudimbana (Antwerp), Ley Matampi (TP Mazembe Englebert)
Defenders: Jordan Ikoko (En Avant Guingamp), Joyce Lomalisa (AS Vita Club), Chancel Mbemba (Newcastle United), Issama Mpeko (TP Mazembe Englebert), Fabrice Nsakala (Alanyaspor), Marcel Tisserand (Ingolstadt), Gabriel Zakuani (Northampton Town)
Midfielders: Merveille Bope (TP Mazembe Englebert), Herve Kage (Kortrijk), Neeskens Kebano (Fulham), Jacques Maghoma (Birmingham City), Paul-Jose Mpoku (Panathinaikos), Remi Mulumba (Gazelec Ajaccio), Youssouf Mulumbu (Norwich City)
Forwards: Cedric Bakambu (Villarreal), Jeremy Bokila (Al Kharaitiyat), Jonathan Bolingi (TP Mazembe Englebert), Jordan Botaka (Charlton Athletic), Dieumerci Mbokani (Hull City), Firmin Mubele (Al Ahli) (Compiled by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ken Ferris)