ABU DHABI // Come what may, Mbenza Bedi already has picked up a prize to display in his trophy cabinet. The Congolese midfielder of TP Mazembe has taken ownership of the ball they used to defeat Pachuca 1-0 in the Club World Cup last night.
"This is the second goal I scored in Abu Dhabi and this was a winning goal, unlike the previous one. So I took this ball to have it in my trophy shelf," he said, holding proudly aloft a ball with signatures from the Pachuca players.
"This win is not only for Mazembe but for all Africa. We didn't have success last time and went home very disappointed. But we returned better prepared and [determined] not to repeat the mistakes of last year. To reach the semi-final and to play Internacional [on Tuesday] is a good achievement."
Last year, Bedi had given his side a 1-0 lead at the break but Pohang Steelers, the Asian champions from South Korea, scored twice in the second half to take the game away from them. This time, Bedi's first-half goal was enough for victory.Given Singuluma, his Zambian teammate at Mazembe, said they had come to the game without much knowledge of the opposition.
"We didn't know much about Pachuca but we played our own game. Nothing comes easy at this level of a competition but we stayed focused and had the opposition marked man-to-man," he said. "We always looked ahead to play Internacional next and we have now got that opportunity. We will play the same way we played against Pachuca, that is to win.
"Obviously we have nothing to lose now. We know they are a very strong side, but strange things happen in football."