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The Vodacom Ligue 1 is the top division of the Congolese Football Association, the umbrella organization of football in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was launched in 1958. In 2013, the game DC Motema Pembe - AS Vita Club with 80,000 football fans was the most visited in the Stade des Martyrs. The Vita Club is the most popular sports club in the DR Congo and in 2013 had the highest average number of visitors.
In 2010, the contest was renamed the Vodacom Super League after signing a five-year sponsorship deal with communications company Vodacom.
The Congolese Football Federation was founded in 1919 when the country was not independent. The team played in 1948 their first game as Belgian Congo against Northern Rhodesia, today's Zambia. The team recorded a 3-2 victory at home. DR Congo has been a FIFA member since 1962 and a member of the CAF since 1963. The first official match of the team took place on April 11, 1963 against Mauritania in the L'Amitié tournament in Dakar, Senegal. DR Congo won the game 6-0. The national team began in 1965 for the first time at the African Nations Cup.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo had their first international success at the 1968 African Nations Cup in Ethiopia when they defeated Ghana 1-0 in the final. The team's biggest win ever came on November 22, 1969, when they recorded a 10-1 home win against Zambia. Although a handful of Congolese players played in Europe (especially in Belgium) during those years, foreign players were rarely recalled for international missions. A rare exception was Julien Kialunda, who represented Zaire (as the country was called at the time) at the 1972 African Nations Cup when he played for Anderlecht.
The second continental title was awarded in 1974 at the African Nations Cup in Egypt. The Leopards scored a 2-1 win over Guinea, another 2-1 win over rival Congo and a 4-1 win over Mauritius. These results led Zaire to the semifinals, where they defeated hosts Egypt 3-2. In the final Zaire moved to Zambia 2-2. Therefore, the game was repeated two days later, where Zaire won the game 2-0. Zaire player Ndaye Mulamba was the top scorer with nine goals, which remains a record for the tournament. After that, the team returned to Zaire in the presidential plane and was lent by Mobutu Sese Seko.
Zaire was the first Sub-Saharan African team to compete in a World Cup and qualified for the 1974 tournament instead of the 1970 participating Morocco, defeating them 3-0 in Kinshasa in crucial qualifying. For this reason, Mobutu wanted to identify Zaire as a global player and paid billboards at the World Cup to publish messages such as "Zaire-Peace" and "Go to Zaire". During the tournament Zaire did not score goals and lost all his games, but gave credible performances against Scotland and Brazil. The 0-0 defeat against Yugoslavia, however, remains one of the worst World Cup defeats. A bizarre moment came in the match against Brazil; Defender Mwepu Ilunga, who saw a free kick 25 meters from the goal, ran out of the Zaire wall and kicked the ball up, earning a yellow card. This was voted the 17th largest World Cup moment in a Channel 4 poll. Ilunga stated that he was well aware of the rules and hoped to convince the referee to send him off. The intended red card would have been a protest against the authorities of his country, who were accused of taking away their income from the players. Many contemporary commentators instead took it as an example of the "naivety and indiscipline" of African football.
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