By Adeboye Amosu & David Meshioye in Kigali:
DR Congo became the first African country to win the Championship for African Nations, CHAN, twice following Sunday night’s victory over Mali in the grand finale of the 2016 edition held in Kigali, Rwanda.
The Leopards defeated Les Aigles of Mali in what turned out to be a one-sided final at the Amahoro Stadium, Kigali.
DR Congo’s clean sheet on the night made it the second time they lifted the CHAN trophy without conceding a goal in the final.
Back in 2009, in the tournament’s maiden edition in Ivory Coast, the Leopards mounted the podium proudly after a 2-0 win over Ghana in the final.
Sunday night in Kigali, they went one up with an emphatic 3-0 triumph over Mali who showed lots of promise going into the final match, especially on the back of their semi-final triumph over tournament’s favourites, Elephants of Ivory Coast.
Mechak Elia set the Congolese on the path of victory when he opened scoring 29 minutes after kick off. The forward collected a long ball from the middle down the left hand channel, like razor, turned sharply on the edge of the area before letting off a curling effort that found the back of the Malian net.
Elia’s goal highlighted the first segment as the striker continued from where he stopped when the second period got underway.
DR Congo dominated possession, but Mali showed promise of a possible equalizer in the opening exchanges of the second half.
But Elia shattered all that ambition when he doubled the Leopards lead two minutes past the hour mark.
From that point, it became an all DR Congo affair, presenting no surprise when Jonathan Bolingi added the third goal in the 73 minutes of the game.
Bolingi’s strike finally put the game beyond any redemption by the West African nation and ensured DR Congo emerged champions of the 2016 CHAN in Kigali, Rwanda, the second by that country following 2009 triumph in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.