Previous appearances in African Nations Cup finals: 8
Best performances: Winners in 1968 and 1974; third in 1998 FIFA world ranking Dec 2012: 107
Coach: Claude Le Roy will continue his long association with the Nations Cup finals, stemming back to 1986 with Cameroon. He will extend his record of tournament appearances to seven and the first match of Group B against Ghana in Port Elizabeth on January 20 will mark a record 29th game at the finals for the 64-year-old Frenchman, who was a winner with Cameroon in 1988 and has always managed to get his teams past the opening round.
Goalkeepers: 23-Landu Bakala (AS MK Etancheite), 1-Robert Kidiaba (TP Mazembe Englebert), 16-Parfait Mandanda (Charleroi)
Defenders: 2-Mpeko Issama (AS V Club), 3-Jean Kasusula (TP Mazembe Englebert), 14-Larrys Mabiala (Karabukspor), 19-Chancel Mbemba (Anderlecht), 17-Cedric Mongongu (Evian Thonon Gaillard), 7-Landry Mulemo (Kortrijk), 21-Gabriel Zakuani (Peterborough United)
Midfielders: 22-Mukuntima Kisombe (Daring Club Motembe Pembe), 18-Cedric Makiadi (SC Freiburg), 10-Zola Matumona (Primeiro Agosto), 8-Tresor Mputu (TP Mazembe Englebert), 7-Youssouf Mulumbu (West Bromwich Albion), 20-Nzinga Luvumbu (SC Rojolu)
Forwards: 12-Yves Diba (Al Riad), 4-Patou Kabangu (TP Mazembe Englebert), 13-Alain Kaluyituka (Al Kharitiyath), 11-Deo Kanda (TP Mazembe Englebert), 15-Lomana Lua Lua (Karabukspor), 6-Buge Manzia (Shark XI FC), 9-Dieudonne Mbokani (Anderlecht)
Key players: Dieumerci Mbokani (Anderlecht). Age: 27. Position: Forward. Missed all of the Congolese preparations because of injury but is expected to join up with the team at the weekend when he will be thrust into the lead role in attack. Had previously retired from international football because of dissatisfaction with the conditions around the national team but has been persuaded back in recent months.
Tresor Mputu (TP Mazembe Englebert). Age: 27 Position: Midfielder. Long regarded as the best player in Africa yet to be snapped up by a European club, even though he has been to Arsenal and Belgium on trial. Captained his club to two successive African Champions League titles in 2009 and 2010 but then got banned for a year for attacking a referee at a regional tournament.
Youssouf Mulumbu (West Bromwich Albion). Age: 25 Position: Midfielder. Former French junior international who has had a tempestuous relationship with the Congo side since his 2008 debut, twice boycotting the team and accusing them of a lack of professionalism. However, he too agreed to coach Le Roy's requests to return for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
Prospects: The Congolese have long lost their prominent position in African football, mainly through decades of corruption, incompetence and neglect around their football structures. But they consistently produce good players and have had success again at club level on the continent, plus are led by a wily coach with in-depth knowledge of the African game.