ABU DHABI - African football, which failed
again to get past the quarter-final barrier at the 2010 World
Cup, reached its first senior global final on Tuesday.
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
"I think the whole team were playing very well... I went to
talk to them (at half-time 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
football 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 play-off to surprise team Auckland City.
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