OVER 50 MILLION PEOPLE EXPECTED TO WATCH ON TV
Democratic Republic of Congo’s flamboyant football outfit TP Mazembe jetted into the country on Wednesday afternoon for an epic CAF Champions League clash against reigning Champions Mochudi Centre Chiefs this Saturday.
Mazembe arrived on a private jet late afternoon and are lodging at the Grand Palm.
The much anticipated match to be played at the UB Stadium at 1500hrs would be the toughest test ever for Madinda Ndlovu’s charges. Having disposed off Mozambican side Clube de Desportos Maxaquene quite easily managing a 2-0 aggregate the current be Mobile Premier League log leaders have a tricky customer in the 2010 Club World Cup finalists.
If they don’t get their tactics right against TP, which in Botswana is short for toilet paper, they will be wiped off, and supporters will have to endure the legendary butt dance from goal minder Kediaba Muteba.
Chiefs’ Public Relations Officer Clifford Mogomotsi was the first to admit that they will have their work cut out for them come Saturday.
The usually pompous PRO was however not dismissive of his club capabilities.
“Mazembe is a big team with a big reputation. They are a super professional side and I expect the match to be very tough,” said Mogomotsi.
The Chiefs spokesperson said the financial muscle of the DRC club was evident even I the way they conduct themselves.
“These guys brought a team of 65 people as the technical support, both paid for by the club.
I don’t know of a club here that can do that, we can barely afford to send the right number of the technical team,” he said.
Mogomotsi said Mazembe demanded a Five Star hotel and were not ready to have anything less.
“They have money, so there was no way they were going to compromise on their standards.
These guys have a huge budget, enough to run our league for four seasons,” he said.
He was however quick to point out that when they decided to take part in the competition they expected to face tough opposition as they progress in the competition.
“We knew that at one point we would have to face one of the big guns and we relished that.
Remember most of our players were part of the national team that competed at the 2012 AFCON finals in Gabon Equatorial Guinea, so they are used to this kind of pressure,” he said.
Hei said his side showed character in the first leg encounter away to Desportos getting the crucial away goal.
“We played with real purpose, and I was convinced from that performance that we are ready to take on any side,” Mogomotsi said.
Chiefs have been on an impressive form recently, winning their last four matches convincingly.
Perhaps to signal their intent, Ndlovu’s side came from a 1-3 score line to defeat Mogoditshane Fighters 5-4 on aggregate in the Mascom Top 8 quarter final.
The team has a couple of players with a big match temperament like Jerome Ramatlhakwane who was key to the Zebras’ maiden AFCON qualification last year.
JJ also scored the only goal against Desportos in Maputo a fortnight ago and will definitely the key man again on Saturday.
Mogomotsi said playing against such a successful club is motivation enough for players to do well.
“They will have two chances to show the world what they can do. Our two matches will be live on television where millions of people will be watching,’ he said.
Mogomotsi revealed that the game will be broadcast live on a television network owned by the billionaire TP Mazembe owner Moise Katumbi. The channel can be viewed in all parts of DRC which has a population of over 72 million people.
For his part, Head of Delegation for the DRC contingent Andre Mpine said despite his side recent regional and international success, they will not underestimate Chiefs.
“We watched the national team play against some of the best teams in Gabon, so we know what they are capable of. It is going to be a tough encounter; there is no doubt about that,” he said.
Mpine said though people usually attribute the success of the club to money, he said it takes more than cash to achieve football success.
“You can have all the money, but if you don’t have a good coach and management, you will never succeed,” he said.