My ink has not even dried on the blog concerning how much of a revelation Democratic of the Republic of Congo and African champions, TP Mazembe are in playing textbook football. They have made history becoming the first African team to reach the FIFA Club World Cup final after a stunning 2-0 victory over Internacional of Argentina, 2006 Champions, at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi.
TP Mazembe are purely men at work 24/7. They graft tirelessly for each other. Fear does not exist to them and they can not be intimidated at all. Mulota Kabangu scored a beautiful goal for a 53rd minute lead, followed by a Dioko Kaluyituka wonder goal with 5 minutes of play remaining. TP beat 1-0 Mexican side Pachucha 1-0 in the quarter-finals in a hungry lion-like manner. It was a performance that would give one confidence that one day soon, Africa will lift the FIFA World Cup.
As we speak, one more win, in their next official match will see them crowned the champions of the world. No team outside the UEFA and CONMEBOL federations have ever reached the Club World Cup final before. Their passage was not an easy one. Internacionale threatened to tear them apart with some Barcelona type of football, but the Africans put their best foot forward, refusing to be bossed around like a slave and holding their heads high with a disciplined performance.
The South Americans wanted a piece of the Congolese as early as the 12th minute and several good saves from goalkeeper Muteba Kidiaba kept them in the match despite efforts from Sobis, headers from Tinga and Indio in the 18th and 20th minutes. TP resorted to route one football, evading dealing with the more slick and creative midfield of the former champions who wanted to become first 2-time champions.
It was a reminder to the rest of Africa, that football is not based on colour or geographical location. Southern African teams like Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Highlanders, Dynamos, Power Dynamos, Nkana Red Devils and Kabwe Warriors, to name a few, better take a leaf from the solid performance of Mazembe, especially on the tactics of how to wear your opponents down without giving much away. It is always a case of forgetting who you are playing, casting away all doubt and playing 200% with heart.
Shibobo for shibobo, tsamaya for tsamaya, mpama for mpama, there is no equal to Southern African talent. There is however a big psychological gap as you go up north and west. Southerners generally, unfortunately, feel inferior to the northerners and westerners. TP Mazembe have torn those form books and are now basically world beaters. They have the least pressure going into the unexpected final with nothing to lose and I wouldn't bet on them losing. I must agree that winning it will be a big feat, but not impossible. VIVA AFRICA!