Benik Afobe named in DR Congo preliminary squad for Africa Cup of Nations

Bournemouth's Benik Afobe
Benik Afobe is yet to make his debut for the DR Congo

Bournemouth striker Benik Afobe has been named in the DR Congo's provisional squad for January's Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon.

The 23-year-old former England Under-21 international decided to switch allegiances to DR Congo in March but is yet to make his debut for them.

He qualifies to play for the Leopards through his parents.

Afobe is one of eight England-based players in coach Florent Ibenge's 31-man squad.

Other stars from England includes Newcastle defender Chancel Mbemba, Hull City striker Dieumerci Mbokani, Gabriel Zakuani of Northampton Town, Norwich City's Youssouf Mulumbu, Birmingam City midfielder Jacques Maghoma, Charlton's Jordan Botaka and Neeskens Kebano of Fulham.

Everton winger Yannick Bolasie has been omitted following his recent knee injury that required an operation.

Hervé Kage, who plays for Belgian side Kortrijk, is excited with the prospect of playing in his second Nations Cup after helping his country to a third place finish in Equatorial Guinea last year.

"I'm very happy with the call-up and I hope to be in the final list to enable me give everything to make the country proud," Kage said.

DR Congo will open their Group C campaign in Gabon against Morocco on 16 January before facing defending champions Ivory Coast four days later and Togo in the final group match on 24 January.

DR Congo provisional squad:

Goalkeepers: Nicaise Mulopo Kudimbana (Royal Antwerp, Belgium), Ley Matampi (TP Mazembe), Joel Kiassumbua (FC Wohlen, Switzerland)

Defenders: Chancel Mbemba (Newcastle, England), Gabriel Zakuani (Northampton Town, England), Issama Mpeko (Kabuscorp, Angola), Joyce Lomalisa (Vita Club), Vital N'Simba (Bourg-Péronnas, France), Fabrice N'Sakala (Alanyaspor, Turkey), Chris Luyindama and Merveille Bope (TP Mazembe), Jordan Ikoko (Guingamp, France), Marcel Tisserand (Ingolstadt, Germany)

Midfielders: Youssouf Mulumbu (Norwich, England), Neeskens Kebano (Fulham, England), Rémy Mulumba (Ajaccio, France), Hervé Kage (Kortrijk, Belgium), Jacques Maghoma (Birmingham City, England), Paul-José M'Poku (Panathinaikos, Greece), Jonathan Bijimine (Cordoba, Spain), Wilson Kamavuaka (Panetolikos, Greece)

Forwards: Cédric Bakambu (Villarreal, Spain), Dieumerci Mbokani (Hull City, England), Benik Afobe (Bournemouth, England), Firmin Mubele Ndombe (Vita Club), Junior Kabananga (Astana, Kazakhstan), Jordan Botaka (Charlton Athletic, England), Meschack Elia and Jonathan Bolingi (TP Mazembe), Ricky Tulengi (DCMP), Jeremy Bokila (Al-Kharitiyath, Qatar)

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