Just a few days after losing the final of the FIFA club World cup, African Champions TP Mazembe have already started building up their squad by signing Zambian internationals; keeper Kalilou Kakonje and midfielder Rainford Kalaba in order to realize the unprecedented hat-trick of winning three successive titles.
The Congolese side media director Eddy Kabelu told supersport.com that the deals have been finalized and both players will join the season for the pre-season campaign.
Kakonje – Zambia’s second choice who will turn 26 next January, will serve as a back-up for TP Mazembe’s first choice Muteba Kidiaba, 34 years, who produced an amazing performance in the FIFA club World cup.
"Everything is okay now and I am heading to Mazembe," Kakonje said. "I will only spend a season there. Initially, it is just for one year and they have an option to extend and then we will see how it goes," he was quoted saying on supersport.com.
However Kalaba is considered to be an added value as the 24-year old international midfielder made a huge impact with the Chipolopolo during the World Cup 2010 qualifiers and the African Cup of Nations.
The talented midfielder signed a five-year contract with Portuguese side Sporting Braga and had some loan-stints at Gil Vicente and UD Leira (both Portugal).
Kalaba signed a loan-deal with Zamalek in January 2010 but he didn’t complete to move and was reportedly a target for some European clubs additionally to South African side Mamelodi Sundowns before finally landing at TP Mazembe.
TP Mazembe will start their CAF Champions League campaign by playing the winner between Comoros side Club de Mitsoudje and Tanzanian champions Simba.