The Club World Cup may not have the prestige of FIFA’s big showcase tournament for national teams, but African champions TP Mazembe were relishing their achievement.
The team from the Democratic Republic of Congo upset South America champions Internacional of Brazil 2-0 in an exciting semi-final of the seven-team tournament at the Mohammad bin Zayed stadium.
“I think the whole team were playing very well… I went to talk to them (at halftime and said) ‘now this is not Brazil which they are saying, you are better then them, you can do better than them, just like in the Bible David killed Goliath’,” club chairman Moise Katumbi Chapwe said.
“It was not an easy game, no one gave us a chance, they think you are coming to lose,” the smartly dressed 46-year-old businessman and politician told reporters.
“I prepared this team (from) a long time ago and they started from the age of 16 so this is the result.”
Coach Lamine N’Diaye, who is from Senegal, said African soccer had been progressing steadily and its day had come.
“Yesterday (Monday), I said this day was not far away and I believed it. I asked the players ‘do you want to achieve something?’,” N’Diaye told the post-match news conference.
“It’s high time that Africa was taken seriously. We have eyes, arms, legs, a head and we can think,” he said.
“We knew we were a great team, we just needed a place to show it. In Africa, it’s already big to win the Champions League twice in a row.”
TP Mazembe, founded in 1939 by Benedictine monks, have twice won successive African Champions League titles, the first time in 1967 and 1968.
“To win is always nice but here that takes on a bigger dimension,” N’Diaye said. “We have players with talent and conviction… These players are easy to coach.
“Last year we came here to get experience, this year it was to do better,” he added.
Mazembe finished sixth last year after losing their quarter-final 2-1 to Pohang Steelers of South Korea and the fifth-place playoff to surprise team Auckland City. Reuters