Mpanzu targets a World Cup spot with DR Congo

Midfielder would love to be involved in 2022 tournament

By Mike Simmonds
Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 7:15 am
Luton midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu
Luton midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu

Town midfielder Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu would love to be involved in the 2022 World Cup with DR Congo.

The 27-year-old won his first cap for his country back in June, featuring in a 1-0 friendly defeat against Tunisia, while he was then involved in the 1-1 draw with Mali.

The Leopards begin their qualification campaign for the tournament in Qatar in September, placed in a group containing Benin, Madagascar and Tanzania.

On the prospect of playing at the finals, Mpanzu said: “The World Cup is a wonderful event, not a lot of people play in it so if you are fortunate enough to qualify for it, you have to take advantage of it.

“It will be a great experience for me and Congo in the games coming up and hopefully we can do something special.

The World Cup doesn’t come around often so if we could get to that, it would be an immense moment.”

Born in Hendon, Mpanzu qualified due to both his parents being from DR Congo, and he admitted it was a hugely proud moment for them to see their son represent his country.

He continued: “Both my mum and dad are Congolese, they are absolutely delighted.

"My mum was almost in tears when she saw it and I’m just proud to make them happy.

“It was great, great to get a cap for your home nation.

“We had a camp out in Tunisia, it was a good experience.

“I met the boys there, met the coach and hopefully in the coming matches we can do something special.”

Meanwhile, Mpanzu, who signed his new contract with Luton last month and has played 298 games for the Hatters from the Conference to the Championship, said of the standard at international level: “It is different, obviously they are international players so the best players from the country.

"It was a good experience, against Tunisia we lost 1-0 but it was a good experience.

"Mali was a good draw, it was different but the quality is still there.

“I have learned things that I haven’t learned with Nathan (Jones) and then I brought things that they didn’t have to the international team so you can get your bits and pieces.”