After five year at the helm of the national team of the Democratic Republic of Congo, 57 year old Jean-Florent Ibenge Ikwange has quit his position.

He led the Leopards of the DRC to three consecutive AFCON tournaments.

In the 2015 tournament they claimed a third place finish, two years later in Gabon, they were quarterfinalists and in Egypt 2019 they were eliminated at the round of 16.

Florent Ibenge who has been cumulating his national team job with that of coach of AS Vita Club, did not give any reasons behind his departure but expressed his wish to continue working with the Congolese Football Federation.

When I began the job it was never my intention to stay for too long, Ibenge said.

“I have ended up staying five years and that’s quite a long time and we have achieved some good things.

“The only thing I can say is thank you to the President of the Federation, to AS Vita Club who helped to get to where I am, a big thank you to the public who have supported me.

“I have received a lot and given a lot but it is time to thank all the players I have coached and all the technical team, even the press that I have had a very working relationship.

“I also wish my successor all the best because it’s not about me but rather the interest of the nation first.”

Ibenge admitted to have intentionally delayed the announcement just to wait for the Federation’s President Constant Omari to return to the country so that he could tell him personally before going public as a sign of respect.

He also made it clear that he will retain his role with AS Vita Club who will be traveling to Cameroon to face Cameroon champions UMS of Loum in the qualification rounds of the CAF Champions League this weekend.

The former Shanghai Shenhua coach took over the coaching role of the DRC in August 2014.

Muambo Edward