Standard Liege midfielder William Balikwisha made his full debut for the DR Congo in their 3-1 victory over Mauritania. The 23-year-old, who was also eligible to play for Belgium, played 28 minutes after coming on to replace Gael Kakuta. Balikwisha’s brother Michael is currently part of the Belgium U21 side looking to qualify for the U21 European championships. William was persuaded to represent the DRC instead of Belgium. The midfielder has been one of the standout players for Ronny Deila’s side this season, playing 27 times with five goals and four assists.
Fellow Standard Liege teammate Mervelle Bokadi played the full 90 minutes during the AFCON qualifier, winning his 21st cap for the central African side. Bokadi began his career in the DRC with TP Mazembe, joining Standard initially on loan in the winter of 2017, before making it permanent the following summer. He has made 126 appearances for the side, scoring eight times.
It was goals from Kakuta, Cedric Bakambu and Arthur Masuaku that gave the Leopards all three points, with Aly Abeid giving their opponents a consolation goal in the 55th minute. This was the DRC’s first win of qualification, having lost their previous two. They are still bottom of the group, level on points with Sudan but just one away from Mauritania. Gabon currently top the group with seven points. DRC and Mauritania will face each other again on Tuesday the 28th of March, this time in Nouakchott.