ABU DHABI // The year 2010 has been a historical one for African football. South Africa staged the first World Cup on the continent and Ghana reached the final eight.
TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo would like to finish a memorable 12 months for the continent with a Club World Cup championship.
"I hope the success of Africa is not finished this year," said Lamine N'diaye, coach of the African Champions League winners. "We would like to make a success here for ourselves and for Africa."
N'diaye, a Senegalese who played for his native country's national side, knows that only European and South American teams have reached the final in the first six Club World Cups.
"You need a lot of experience to win and the African clubs have less experience than those from Europe and South America," he said. "But since we are coming back to Abu Dhabi for the second time, we have more experience than last time. And the other thing is, you need a lot of luck to win this tournament. We will do our best."
Mazembe plays Pachuca of Mexico in a quarter-final match tonight. The club, known by its supporters as "Les corbeaux" (the crows) because of their black-and-white kit, are enormously popular in their home city of Lubumbashi in the southern Congo province of Katanga.
Amia Ekanga, a midfielder, and N'diaye said the team's fortunes will be closely followed back home and throughout Congo. "Our supporters are called The Fanatics, and that says everything about them," N'diaye said. "Of course, they are convinced we can win this tournament."
The club expects to be supported by a group of 50 hometown fans who travel with the team. "You will see again that we have great supporters," N'diaye said. "They will sing and dance until the end, and I'm sure they will push us forward and try to help us."