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Page last updated at 15:35 GMT, Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Mazembe guard against complacency

By Piers Edwards
BBC Sport

Moise Katumbi
Katumbi is the wealthy governor of Mazembe's Katanga province

TP Mazembe chairman Moise Katumbi is not taking victory for granted ahead of the second leg of the African Champions League final on Saturday.

The reigning title-holders travel to face Esperance of Tunisia holding a 5-0 lead from the first leg.

But a wary Katumbi has been drilling the importance of not being over-confident into his squad ahead of the Tunis clash.

"Anything can happen in the return leg," he warned. "It all depends on the players so we are there to prepare them."

"We don't want to lose this title and must win it back with our sweat."

The Congolese are taking the second leg so seriously, despite their large lead, that the Lubumbashi club has spent the last week preparing in Belgium prior to leaving for Tunis in the next 48 hours.

The Mazembe chairman has also credited the arrival in September of former Senegal coach Lamin Ndiaye with instilling a sense of freedom in his team.

Defending this trophy would be really good for the Democratic Republic of Congo

TP Mazembe chairman Moise Katumbi

"Lamin's influence on the team has been very good as he's made all the players feel free," the 45-year-old told BBC Sport.

"He's a good teacher who briefs the squad well and has a very good relationship with the players, which wasn't the case before.

"He has proved himself and you can see how the team has responded to him and is a different team now.

"All the players want to play, fight and win - Lamin has instilled a fighting spirit."

Ndiaye, who came in after Champions League-winning coach Diego Garzitto surprisingly absconded, is set to be offered a new contract.

Should Mazembe lift the trophy at the Rades Stadium on Saturday, they would become the first side to defend the trophy on two separate occasions.

Having been the first club to do so in 1967 and 1968, it took nearly four decades before the feat was repeated by Nigeria's Enyimba (2003 and 2004) and then Egypt's Al Ahly (2005 and 2006).

"To defend this trophy again would be really good for DR Congo, for the province of Katanga and for myself as Mazembe chairman," Katumbia added.

And while he believes success would improve relationships with European clubs, with some players set to leave Mazembe this year, it would also signify a return to the Fifa Club World Cup.

"Last year, we showed the world how Mazembe can play but we didn't prepare well as the players had been on leave until just five days before," he said.

"Should we win this weekend, we'll prepare properly this time around and try not to deceive the African continent."

Whoever wins the African Champions League on Saturday is set to meet Mexican outfit Pachuca on 12 December in Abu Dhabi.

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see also
Mazembe destroy Esperance
31 Oct 10 |  African
2010 African Champions League final
28 Oct 10 |  African
Africa's best face Pachuca in UAE
27 Oct 10 |  African
Mazembe, Esperance reach final
17 Oct 10 |  African
Mazembe clinch Champs Lge title
07 Nov 09 |  African

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