TP Mazembe keeper Muteba Kidiaba believes his side is a serious contender for the FIFA Club World Cup title after stunning everyone on their way to the final.
“This was always going to be a great year for African football, but it must be said that overall the World Cup was a little disappointing for our confederation’s teams,” the Congolese shot-stopper told FIFA website.
“But Ghana showed us the way. We’re now in the final and the cup is within touching distance. We’re confident we can put in a performance that will enable us to lay our hands on it.”
TP Mazembe made history when they beat Brazilian giants Internacional to become the first African team to play in final of the 10-year-old competition.
“We’re so proud to be flying the flag for Africa. We’d like to think that the Congolese nation, as well as people all across the continent, is behind us, just as they were for Ghana in the World Cup in South Africa,” he added.
Kidiabe had a major part in the achievement as he put on some heroic displays to keep his sheet clean in the semi-final showdown.
If TP Mazembe were to emerge victorious on Saturday, it would be no surprise to see Kidiaba’s gloved hands among the first to clutch the trophy.
The 34-year-old keeper had also revealed that the key to the team's unprecedented success was the guidance of Senegalese tactician Lamine N’Diaye.
“During our pre-match preparations, he placed a special emphasis on two things.
“Hard work, because without that, talent is useless, and total concentration, because, without that hard work is pointless. Our other strength is team spirit. It’s as if we’re ready to die for each other out on the pitch.”
TP Mazembe will take on Italian and European Champions Inter Milan on Saturday.
Inter and Cameroon ace Samuel Eto’o had predicted that the two teams would indeed meet in the final, explaining that he wished to face the African giants on the field.