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Page last updated at 12:07 GMT, Friday, 6 November 2009

Mazembe confident of victory

By Steve Vickers
BBC Sport, Lubumbashi

Champions League action between TP Mazembe and Heartland
Heartland have a 2-1 lead from the first leg of the final in Owerri

TP Mazembe are confident of victory when they host Heartland of Nigeria in Saturday's second leg of the African Champions League final in Lubumbashi.

Heartland came from behind to win the first leg 2-1 in Owerri last Sunday, a result that means that a 1-0 victory for the DR Congo side will see them win the competition.

TP Mazembe arrived in Lubumbashi on Thursday evening after spending most of the week in Harare, to avoid pressure from fans and the media.

The team is being kept away from journalists, but spokesman Eddy Kabelu told the BBC's African sports programme Fast Track that they are ready for the biggest game in their history.

He said: "All of the players and staff know that we must win this game and that we can score only one goal and take the Champions League.

Heartland can't beat TP Mazembe here in Lubumbashi

Eddy Kabelu
TP Mazembe spokesman

"Heartland can't beat TP Mazembe here in Lubumbashi. We've studied the pictures of the first leg and we know where we went wrong, and everything is ok now," he added.

President Joseph Kabila is expected to attend the match at the Kenya Stadium.

Heartland have delayed their arrival in Lubumbashi and are due to arrive on Friday evening on a private plane.

The Nigerian team showed that they can produce good results away from home by drawing 1-1 away to last year's runners-up Coton Sport of Cameroon after a 2-1 home win in the third round of this year's competition.

There has been saturation coverage on television here ahead of the match, and fans are talking endlessly about what will be the biggest match ever to take place in Lubumbashi.

"Mazembe have gone a long time without winning the Cup, we can't afford to lose," said one fan.

The team will be led by captain Tresor Mputu Mabi, one of the finest players based on the continent.

TP Mazembe were continental champions in 1967 and 1968, but African football has moved on greatly since those days, and their appearance in the final comes after an eight-year rebuilding process.

Club chairman and governor of the mineral-rich Katanga province, Moise Katumbi, has put $5m into this year's campaign, and TP Mazembe now have seven foreign players in their squad.

The winners of the African Champions League will play at the Club World Cup in December, a competition that will feature European champions Barcelona.

For the second year in a row, the second leg of the final takes place in an unlikely venue.

Last year it was played in Garoua in northern Cameroon, with Al Ahly of Egypt beating Coton Sport.

This is only the third time in 28 years that the Champions League final has not included a north African team, and the first time since 1998.



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see also
Quiet preparations for Mazembe
04 Nov 09 |  African
Heartland edge to narrow victory
01 Nov 09 |  African
Mazembe scrape into Champs Lge final
18 Oct 09 |  African
Heartland reach Champs Lge final
11 Oct 09 |  African


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