DR Congo coach Claude Le Roy believes that given more experience at the highest level, his current squad can reach the heights achieved by other teams he has led.
Le Roy boasts an impressive record as a coach in Africa where he has been at the helm of Cameroon, Senegal and Ghana, as well as having enjoyed an earlier stint with the DR Congo. The Frenchman was making his sixth appearance at an Africa Cup of Nations tournament, and prior to this year's event had never failed to negotiate his way through the group stages.
While the current crop of Congolese players may have seen that record run come to an end, Le Roy has high hopes for them. However, he believes that crucial to their success going forward will be the presence of the likes of Yannick Bolaise and Gabriel Zakuani who were included in Le Roy's 28-man provisional squad but did not take part in the competition, with Bolaise reportedly snubbing the opportunity to play for the team.
"I think can they reach the same level as those Cameroon and Ghana teams as they are very skillful," Le Roy told Football411.
"I hope that with the type of football that we have tried to play, the quality that we have brought and the way the team has behaved will see them join the team in the coming weeks, because in a month we have World Cup qualifying," he said of the absent players.
Not only did the DR Congo team have to do without some potentially key players, but there were also reports that Le Roy had quit the team in fury on the eve of the tournament after unhappiness in the squad due to a delay in the payment of bonus, a delay government officials later blamed on public holidays.
Heading into their upcoming World Cup qualifiers, Le Roy is adamant that there needs to be a change in culture surrounding the team.
"We are second in the group and we play Libya and if we beat Libya we are first and there are a lot of great things coming," he explained.
"But we can't always work in a state of emergency. We cannot always be panicking or nervous, this culture of emergency, I'm a lit bit tired of it."
Julia Harris in Durban