Rainier Plahar

Who are they? Tout Puissant Mazembe
Where are they from? Lubumbashi, DR Congo
How did they qualify? As 2010 African Champions League winners

Formerly known as Englebert, TP Mazembe are the only team to have successfully defended the African Champions League title twice. Founded in 1939 by Benedictine monks in order to vary the activities of students who had no interest in priesthood, the side christened Holy Team Georges, was later rebranded as Englebert after their sponsors in the 1940s. The title Tout Puissant, meaning all-powerful, was added to the side’s name after their won their first league title.

TP Mazembe gained popularity after a rich vein of form in the 1960s, winning the domestic treble in 1966 and going on to conquer Africa by appearing in the finals of the African Cup of Champions four consecutive times from 1967 to 1970. The club from Lubumbashi won and retained the trophy in 1967 and 1968, thus enshrining themselves in African football history.


TP Mazembe will look to advance further than they managed in last year’s Club World Cup, where they crashed out after just one game. Boosted by the heavy financial backing of club owner Moise Katumbi and the experience gained in the 2009 tournament, Mazembe will aim to reach the latter stages. Goalkeeper Robert Kidiabia explained the mood in the camp recently, stating: "We want to win a game and we will try very hard to make that happen. Not only for our own fans, but for Africa, because we will be representing Africa in Abu Dhabi."


Key Players

Given Singuluma – Striker: Undeniably one of the sharpest forwards in African club football, Singuluma is the spearhead of this TP Mazembe team in the absence of regular captain Tresor Mputu, who is serving a one-year ban imposed by FIFA. Having won everything there is to win in the continent, the Zambian international is desperate for a move to Europe. Singuluma has been linked with several clubs in recent times, but no deal has yet been struck. The 24-year-old will be keen to use the Club World Cup as a platform to remind European sides of his potential.

Robert Kidiaba
– Goalkeeper: Already a veteran in the side, the 34-year-old keeper is set on erasing memories of last year’s Club World Cup where he saw red in the loss to New Zealand side Auckland FC. "I am looking forward to playing", said Kidiaba, "last year people remembered me for the red card, this year I want them to remember me for my skill, not a sending off." And Kidiaba’s skill will be key if Mazembe are to win their first game.

Eric Miala Nkulukuta – Defender: The versatile 27-year-old brings strong defensive skills to Mazembe’s line-up. Nkulukuta can also play in midfield as a holding defensive midfielder, and will have to be on top of his game if Mazembe are to prevent opening game opponents Pachuca from scoring.


Lamine N’Diaye: N’Diaye was appointed TP Mazembe boss in September after former coach Diego Garzitto upped sticks and left over a dispute with owner Katumbi. The ex-striker is a former Senegal international who played in Europe with Cannes and Mulhouse in France. After managerial stints with former side Mulhouse and Coton Sport in the Cameroon, N’Diaye was appointed Senegal boss in January 2008, but was sacked in October of the same year. His record with Mazembe thus far is a good one, having steered the side to continental success. A good run in Abu Dhabi will boost his CV.


TP Mazembe are highly motivated to put on a better show than they managed at last year’s Club World Cup. Wealthy owner Katumbi has already declared he will take a break from his demanding schedule as a regional governor to travel with the team and this underlines the importance that the club are attaching to the tournament. Facing a tough opening game against Mexican side Pachuca, the Congolese will be underdogs to secure a semi-final berth, but this is not beyond the side from Lubumbashi.