By Eddie Chikamhi
The man dubbed the Balotelli of Congo, Thievy Boufama, the golden boy of these Red Devils, has been named in his country’s make-or-break 2019 AFCON showdown against Zimbabwe on March 24.
The 26-year-old forward, who has scored three goals for his team in the current qualifiers, including the equaliser against the Warriors in Brazzaville, had been a major doubt for the big game at the National Sports Stadium.
The Congolese, who are bottom of the table, can qualify for the AFCON finals with a win over the Warriors who only need just a draw to sail through.
Brazilian coach Valdo Filho is still confident his men will perform a spectacular smash-and-grab act on the Warriors.
Filho named an enlarged 38-member squad with 22 foreign-based players, including captain Prince Oniangue and his deputy Delvin Ndinga.
Goalkeeper Christoffer Mafoumbi also marked his return to the team while the duo of Eden Massouema, loaned by Dijon to Valenciennes in Ligue 2, and Faitout Maouassa, loaned by Rennes to Nimes this season, have received debut calls.
They were both born in France.
Filho has also invited Bifouma despite reports by his Turkish club, Yeni Malatyaspor, he can only be available early next month.
The 26-year-old injured his knee during a Turkish Super Lig game against Konyaspor on February 10.
Bifouma played for France at youth level before switching allegiance to Congo-Brazzaville.
Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa has already named his troops for the big game.
Goalkeepers: Christoffer Mafoumbi (Blackpool / D3 England), Chancel Massa (AS Otoho / Congo), Wilfrigon Mongondza (AS Otoho / Congo), Pavhel Ndzila (Etoile Congo / Congo).
Defenders: Marvin Baudry (Zulte Waregem / Belgium), Fernand Mayembo (Le Havre / Ligue 2 France), Hugo Konongo (Cherno More Varna / Bulgaria), Romaric Etou (Beitar Tel Aviv Ramla / D2 Israel), Baron Kibamba (Real Linense / D3 Spain), Faitout Maouassa (Nimes Olympique / Ligue 1 France), Carof Bakoua (AS Otoho / Congo), Elie Ikouma (Cara / Congo), Farias Ondongo (AS Otoho / Congo), Dimitri Bissiki (AS Otoho / Congo).
Midfielders: Prince Oniangue (SM Caen / Ligue 1 France), Delvin Ndinga (Sivasspor / Turkey), Amour Loussoukou (Stade Tunisien / Tunisia), Durel Avounou (US Orleans / Ligue 2 France), Eden Massouema (Valenciennes / Ligue 2 France), Burnallerge Etou (AS Beziers / Ligue 2 France), Merveil Ndockyt (Barcelona B / D3 Spain), Itali Ossete (Black Devils / Congo), Onivercien Ngoma (V Club Mokanda / Congo), Duval Ngoma (AS Otoho / Congo).
Strikers: Prince Vinny Ibara (USM Alger / Algeria), Junior Makiesse (Al Ahli Tripoli / Libya), Dylan Bahamboula (CS Constantine / Algeria), Mavis Tchibota (Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv / Israel), Bercyl Obassi (Stade Tunisien / Tunisia), Cabwey Kivutuka (Charlotte Independant / D2 United States), Dylan Saint-Louis (Paris FC / Ligue 2 France), Thievy Bifouma (Yeni Malatyaspor / Turkey), Oxy Makouala (JST Congo), Teddy Membo ( V Club Mokanda / Congo), Mateus Botamba (As Otoho / Congo), Beni Makouana (Black Devils Congo), Edo Molodi (V.Club Mokanda /Congo), Yann Mokombo (Etoile du Congo / Congo). The Herald.