Despite winning the 1968 and 1974 CAF Africa Cup occurs of Nations, Zaire as the first sub-Sahara side of the FIFA World Cup in Germany 1974 reminds the most negative reasons: 14 goals without reply and notoriously strange yellow card against Brazil on June 22, 1974-40 years ago today. However it is said their key figures, Etepe Kakoko, FIFA.com , that the leopards confident in the event.
"We were a great team in 1974", Etepe recalls. "The AFCON tournament had won many of the players in the team earlier in the year. A football club had also won Club, the CAF Champions Cup from Zaire, Vita a year earlier, so there was much international experience in the team. We had a very experienced coach."
Blagoje Vidinic, who won the 1956 and 1960 Olympic silver and gold with Yugoslavia, already coached Morocco for the 1970 FIFA World Cup, but four years later the former international goalkeeper could not repeat the respectable results, which he had reached with the Atlas Lions. A 0: 2 defeat in Zaire opening game against Scotland was followed by a 9-0-threshing on the feet of Yugoslavia. And then lost their last group game against Brazil Zaire 3-0, which famously saw Mwepu Ilunga Jairzinho, topple from its defensive wall away before a flummoxed kick the ball the referee and Rivelino.
Ilunga later claimed that the relocation Act of protest was. Etepe said: "I have no idea why he did that. Perhaps he thought that was the ball in the game, but he does not explain it to us and it remains a mystery.
"We have good against Scotland, but against Yugoslavia, we were just exhausted. We were very tired and we lacked the experience was necessary just to compete against such teams. Already play the finale today most African players for clubs in Europe. In 1974, that was not the case with us. We have no single players who were at a club in Europe under contract.
"We had African experience, but that was just not enough to compete at this level. But it was still a huge success for us at the World Championships to be and represent Africa. It is something that I didn't want, Miss."
An irony of fate
But if most sorely disappointed the leopards players signing lucrative contracts with European clubs after the final they were dreamed, there was very little interest after 1974 performance. "For us, football was not a full-time job," explains Etepe. "We played with heart, we had plenty, but we haven't been given wealth. We had to work too."
Etepe continue playing football in Zaire and worked for car-maker Mercedes Benz, they decided to send him for training in 1977 after Germany. "It took my visa through a long time coming, but when it was finally issued, I am to Germany for the second time," he said.
"I was part-time football play and work at Mercedes in Stuttgart." It was that which belongs to VfB Stuttgart, that it a player who had played in the World Cup finals in 1974 and they asked me to come to the training then."
Etepe enjoyed a successful time at the page amateur, winning the German Amateur Championship in 1980. Also, he played a Bundesliga game for the first team and some second division teams before retiring in Germany: "football has given me much and I would not achieved all that I have achieved I had not played at the World Cup."
Etepe, his son, Yannick is also a footballer and was once in the books of Bayern Munich, he says has no bitterness not, made their living from football, but he a sadness to say thereof, if he looks at the fate of many leopards of team-mates from 1974, many have fallen on hard times. "It makes me sad to think that some of them have to show nothing for their success. I many in Belgium life have more contact with a few, like Captain Kidumu Mantantu, Macias Maku, Mafu Kibonge, Ntumba KALALA and Kazadi Muamba, of which."
The 63-year-old is also disappointed that when he looks at the State of football in the country his birth, in the Congo Dr is now called "we have great players and we should be there really, with the likes of Ghana, Cameroon and Nigeria. We should qualify for the World Cup and the challenge for the African Championship. "It is sad that this is not the case, and I, that officials do something about it wishes to ensure that we once again become one of the strongest teams in Africa."