Ngola is one of the most popular games in Congo, as it is in many African countries, where it goes by different names (including mankala). It is played with 48 dried peas. The board is usually rectangular, about half a metre long, with two facing rows of six hollowed cups each. Some boards also have a cup at one or both ends for keeping captured peas. The game involves picking up the peas in a chosen cup and redistributing them in an attempt to capture as many peas as possible. The rules of capture vary. Ngola is designed for two players, but teams are also possible. Different ethnic groups have their own versions of the game, some more complex than others.
Soccer, which was introduced to Congo by Catholic missionaries in the early 1900s, remains the nation's most popular sport. It is played and watched throughout the country, and competition with other national African teams is intense. Congo won the African championship in 1968, 1974 and 1994, and made it into the World Cup playoffs in 1974.

 Boxing, track and field, and, to a lesser extent, basketball, handball and volleyball are also popular. Unfortunately, apart from soccer and basketball, there is little infrastructure to support the development of sports, and sports are rarely included in school activities. The government provides financial support only for national and Olympic teams, not for local and regional sports.

  Did you know?
Congo was one of a dozen African nations that protested the Soviet presence in Afghanistan by boycotting the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.
Many Congolese enjoy playing cards, singing, dancing, listening to music, storytelling and visiting relatives. Board games such as chess and checkers are also popular. In small villages, communal activities may include gathering at the local bar to watch a wrestling or soccer match on television. The cities offer movies, theatres and dance clubs. The Congolese are imaginative dancers and constantly invent new dances. Many urban Congolese spend their leisure time in bars. They dance, listen to live or recorded Congolese jazz or simply talk with friends over a glass of beer.
  Did you know?
Muhammad Ali and George Foreman staged a world heavyweight boxing championship fight in Kinshasa on October 30, 1974, that attracted international attention. This event is the subject of a documentary film by Leon Gast called When We Were Kings