DR Congo vs Zambia overview
To be fair, DR Congo are two-time African champions. However, their last title came in 1974, exactly 50 years ago. It's worth mentioning that DR Congo were called Zaire at the time, and their opponents in that 1974 final were none other than the Zambians.
While the Leopards haven't reached an AFCON final in half a century, they advanced to the semi-finals in 2015, finishing fourth.
Zambia, on the other hand, won their first and only AFCON title in 2012. They've been unable to reach the semi-finals of this competition since then.
Chipolopolo were runners-up on two occasions, once against DR Congo. They also have three bronze medals to their name.
DR Congo vs Zambia head to head
DR Congo and Zambia first met in a friendly match in November 1969, where the Zambians suffered a humiliating 10-1 loss. DR Congo have improved a lot since then, losing just once in their next 11 clashes with Zambia.
As it stands, these teams have met 12 times. Congo have six wins, while Zambia have two. There were four stalemates between these teams. Interestingly, Zambia have never beaten DR Congo in a competitive fixture.
The last time these teams squared off against each other was in November 2015. This will be their third encounter in the Nations Cup.
DR Congo vs Zambia potential lineups
DR Congo are expected to line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with former Villarreal forward Cedric Bakambu leading the charge. Sebastien Desabre is also expected to give Rodez AF's Lionel M'pasi the nod to start between the sticks.
Likewise, former Chelsea coach Avram Grant will likely adopt the same formation, with Leicester City's Patson Daka being the lone forward.
The 25-year-old has been in sensational form for Chipolopolo. He has scored in four consecutive appearances for Zambia, with six goals in that stretch.
With that being said, these are our probable DR Congo vs Zambia lineups:
Goalkeeper: Lionel M'pasi.
Defenders: Gedeon Kalulu, Chancel Mbemba, Henoc Baka, Edo Kayembe.
Midfielders: Aaron Tshibola, Samuel Moutoussamy, Theo Bongonda, Gaël Kakuta, Yoane Wissa.
Forwards: Cédric Bakambu.
Goalkeeper: Toaster Nsabata.
Defenders: Rodrick Kwabe, Stoppila Sunzu, Frankie Musonda, Bendecit Chapeshi.
Midfielders: Kings Kangwa, Emmanuel Banda, Lameck Banda, Benson Sakala, Clatous Chama.
Forwards: Patson Daka.
DR Congo vs Zambia tactical analysis
DR Congo aren't exactly brimming with confidence ahead of this tournament. They won just one of their last six matches, and are coming off back-to-back losses.
Desabre's troops have not been very consistent when it comes to finding the net, as they blanked in three of their last six games.
Likewise, Zambia haven't really enjoyed their best form in recent months. They have two wins, two draws and two losses in their last six games.
DR Congo vs Zambia prediction
Despite their recent shortcomings, Zambia have scored their fair share of goals, as they found the net nine times in their last four games. Conversely, Avram Grant's side saw their defence breached in five of their last six matches.
Both teams got on the scoresheet in Zambia's last three matches. Taking into account that both teams found the net in three of the last five skirmishes between these teams, our DR Congo vs Zambia prediction is both teams to score.
Where to watch DR Congo vs Zambia live
If you reside in DR Congo, you can tune into RTNC, New World Sport1 AfroSport TV and Supersport Maximo for live coverage of this match.
On the other hand, Zambians can catch all the action live on ZNBC Zambia, StarTimes and Supersport Football Plus.