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Thursday, 23 September 2021

TP Mazembe look to seal golden year for Africa

Tout Puissant Mazembe will be looking to crown a golden year for African football by becoming the first side from the continent to win the Club World Cup when they take on the mighty Inter Milan here on Saturday

AFP, Friday 17 Dec 2010
Mazembe eager to end their year on a high

The club from the Democratic Republic of Congo have already gone done in the history books by becoming the first team from Africa to reach the final when they upset Copa Libertadores champions Internacional of Brazil 2-0 in the semi-finals.
South America and Europe have traditionally dominated the tournament, holding three titles each, but after hosting their first World Cup this summer, African hopes are now focused on the sub-Saharan side to end their year on a high.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter believes this is an ideal opportunity for Africa to show that they are among the best in the world.
"Mazembe is going to write a new page of football history tomorrow (Saturday), with an African team in the final for the first time," said Blatter. "It will be a great match. Mazembe against Inter Milan, the European champion. A big event."
Blatter believes that the fact that an African team have reached the final is the fruits of a World Cup being held on African soil for the first time.
"The legacy starts now. (World Cup 2010) has been important for the future. We have set local initiatives in motion with the South African authorities," he said.
Mazembe pulled off the biggest shock in the 10-year history of the Club World Cup by beating South American champions Internacional in the semi-finals.
Celso Roth, coach of the team from the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre, admitted he was surprised by the energy shown by Mazembe particularly dangerman Alain Dioko Kaluyituka and goalkeeper Muteba Kidiaba.
But Inter, who last season won an unprecedented treble of Italian league, cup and Champions League titles, remain the favourites despite being hit by the hamstring injury suffered by Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder.
Brazilian Maicon warned they would not be underestimating their rivals.
"Mazembe is a very strong team and is going to be very difficult," the Inter Milan defender said. "There are similarities between African and Brazilian football. And in Inter there are several Brazilians, we hope to be ready."
He dismismissed the view that European clubs did not take the competition seriously.
"It's not true, it means a lot to Inter. It's a trophy which the club has never won and we want it. In 2007 an Italian team won, AC Milan, and we want to lift it now. It's very important for us."
Compatriot Julio Cesar added: "There has always been a European and South American domination of this tournament but now here is an African team that has shown that everything is to play for on Saturday."

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