The Lubumbashi-based club achieved what fellow Africans have not managed since the inauguration of the Club World Cup’s new format in 2000, reaching the tournament’s final after claiming a stunning 2-0 victory over Internacional of Brazil.
They can further dazzle the world if they overcome Inter, who are equally eager to win the trophy to make up a poor start to their domestic season in the Italian Serie A.
Katumbi, a wealthy businessman and powerful politician, is reaping the rewards of his work after spending big to bolster the squad of Mazembe and keep hold of their stars.
He was present in Mazembe’s training session ahead of the Inter encounter in Abu Dhabi, sharing the joy of his players, basking in their unprecedented success and encouraging them to do even better, according to UAE paper Al-Ittihad.
He tried his luck from the penalty spot but Mazembe’s ever-reliable goalkeeper Muteba Kidiaba blocked his efforts amid a relaxed atmosphere despite the stiff challenge awaiting the 2009 and 2010 African Champions League winners.
Kidiaba pulled off a string of impressive saves to thwart Internacional on a handful of occasions and deny them from making a routine progress to the final of the Club World Cup, which they won in 2006 following a famous victory over then European champions Barcelona.
Mazembe coach Lamine N’Diaye is confident his side can cause a huge upset at the expense of three-time European champions Inter.
“We had an ambition to do better than 2009,” N’Diaye, whose side lost twice in last year’s edition, told the club’s official website.
“We came here to win and make amends. We already registered two victories and this whetted our appetite for more.”