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Mazembe begin plans for 2011 African Champions League

By Matthew Kenyon
BBC Sport, Abu Dhabi.

TP Mazembe Players
Mazembe will attempt to go for a third champions league trophy in a row

African champions TP Mazembe will immediately start preparing for the 2011 champions league, according to their president.

Moise Katumbi wants the side to win the continental competition for the third year in a row so that they can qualify yet again for the Club World Cup (CWC).

The Lubumbashi-based side made history last week when they became the first African team to reach the final of the CWC, where they were beaten 3-0 by the European champions Inter Milan.

"We are going to go and prepare our team to win the Champions League a third time," Katumbi told the BBC.

Katumbi has ploughed millions of dollars into the side and his investment has paid off for the 'Crows' as they have dominated the African club game for the last two years.

But their performance at the CWC in Abu Dhabi made headlines around the world, and the club now faces a challenge to hold on to its best players.

"We are going to try and get the best players for us [but] if they want to go you can't refuse them - they are big boys, if there is a good offer for them they will go and we will try and replace them," Katumbi said.

Some of the players in the team likely to attract overseas attention include 25-year-old Tresor Mputu Mabi, who at the moment is serving a one-year Fifa suspension and 23-year-old Dioko Kaluyituka who was voted the second best player at the tournament.

Katumbi, who is also the governor of Katanga province in DR Congo and, through his mining company, also the main sponsor of Mazembe, is planning for the long term.

"We have 2000 boys in our academy, creating better players who can replace [anyone who leaves]," he said.

Mazembe flew home on Sunday to an enthusiastic welcome across the whole of DR Congo with the team having been adopted by fans around the whole country.

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see also
Mazembe suffer CWC final defeat
18 Dec 10 |  African
Africa's TP Mazembe make history
14 Dec 10 |  African
Fifa boss Blatter hails Mazembe
17 Dec 10 |  African

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