They have a solid record in the competition that includes two titles, several outstanding footballers, and a coach (Claude le Roy) set to make a record seventh appearance at the competition.
The Congolese, who are in Group B with Mali, Niger and Ghana, are back at the Nations Cup after a seven-year break with French coach Claude le Roy also in charge when they reached the 2006 quarter-finals before bowing out to hosts Egypt.
Congolese President Joseph Kabila persuaded Le Roy to come back and take over the struggling Leopards, who have failed to qualify for the past three tounaments.
"The team was in very bad shape," recalled Le Roy in a Congolese radio interview. "They were ranked 35 in Africa and many stars were no longer interested in playing for the national team.
"An unstable political situation meant football had taken a back seat for a few years, so the priority was to restore confidence to the team and help it operate more professionally.
"DR Congo has too much potential to accept not being among the best teams on the continent," said the coach.
They had little difficulty qualifying for the 2013 Nations Cup beating Seychelles (7-0) and Equatorial Guinea (5-2) after two-leg ties.
Dieumerci Mbokani from Belgian side Anderlecht scored three of the 12 goals and big things are expected from him by Le Roy.
"With the likes of Mbokani, Tresor LuaLua Lomana and Cedric Makiadi we can field a great team and we also have an incredible attacking talent in Tresor Mputu," says Le Roy.
"It will be a difficult pool for us as we are less favoured than Ghana and Mali, who were 2012 semi-finalists. But I like being outsiders and qualifying for the quarter-finals would be a beautiful dream," he adds.