The almighty Mazembe was eliminated in the group stage of the Confederation Cup. The Lubumbashi Crows finished last in their group with five defeats in six matches. The club's president, Moïse Katumbi, explained the reasons for this debacle while reassuring the fans.
Tout Puissant Mazmebe will not win a continental title for the sixth consecutive year. Reversed in the Confederation Cup after their elimination from the CAF Champions League at the round of 16 stage, the Crows were eliminated in the group stage by finishing last. All this with only one win recorded and five defeats, including two at home. Never seen in the history of this great Congolese club that seems to have more powerful than its name. The situation worries the fans. Some have even demanded major reforms within the team or even the departure of the president. For his part, Moïse Katumbi has tried to ease tensions by trying to explain the reasons for this new debacle while reassuring the public.
Lack of championship, the main cause
The Tout Puissant Mazembe is far from its glorious past with eleven continental titles, the last of which was won in 2017 in the Confederation Cup. For Moïse Katumbi, the current poor form of Tout Puissant Mazembe, which led to this debacle, is the image of the organization of soccer in the country where the championship is at a standstill since December 2022. The proof is that of the four Congolese clubs present in the group phase of the Champions League and the Confederation Cup, none has qualified for the quarterfinals, worse, all finished last in their respective groups. "I do not want to talk about the past of my club because the past is the past; I am a man of the future. I am not a man who cries, rather the one who solves problems in difficult situations. I accept that we were organized but we were eliminated. I think we should attack the real problem which is the lack of championship in the country. The players have not had time to play together, they have lost the automatisms. We should not look for the problem elsewhere, the problem is the organization of our championship. What result can we expect when all the teams in the DRC do not have a championship?
Mazembe has no financial problems
If the lack of championship can be considered, this season, as the main reason for the worst performance of Mazembe in the group stage of a CAF interclub competition, several Congolese sports analysts believe that the causes of the decline of the Crows in recent years are several orders, including financial. A hypothesis that Moise Katumbi firmly rejects, reassuring the fans. "Mazembe does not have a problem of financial means. Have you been told that Mazembe has lowered the salaries of players? Are the players of Mazembe in arrears? We support several teams, with more than two thousand academicians that we supervise. When I offered the DRC the opportunity to place four clubs in African competitions, I was not a governor. It's been more or less two years since the Congolese government no longer participates financially in Mazembe's trips to Africa, have you seen Mazembe being blocked or kicked out of a hotel? On our last tour alone, we were out of the country for more than three weeks and it cost us more than one million four hundred thousand dollars. The club does not have a money problem," he said.
What about recruiting players?
Despite the change of coaches in recent seasons, the Lubumbashi club has not managed to reach the last four of the Champions League. This season the Crows have suffered even in the national championship. At the time of the end of the League 1, they were fourth in the standings, 16 points behind the leader, V.Club. This is their worst ranking in over a decade at the national level. This can be justified by the lack of real scorers in its squad, players who can alone kill a game. Since the departure of players such as Roger Claver Assalé, Bwana Ali Samata, Ben Malango and Jackson Muleka, Mazembe has not been able to find strikers either in the country or in Africa. The young academy players injected into the first team are not yet producing the results expected of them. Hence the relevance of questioning the recruitment policy of the team, which is no longer able to better flesh out its workforce. Moïse Katumbi nevertheless wants to remain positive about the future. "The foreign players are still in the team and they are numerous. Don't let anyone fool you, in the DRC, there is no club that puts the means like us. We will address the problems identified so that the future of the club is better," he said.
To save its season, the Almighty Mazembe, whose hopes of title are very slim at the level of the national championship, hopes the resumption of the League 1 which was stopped since December 21, 2022 in order to fight for an African place by finishing among the top three, he who currently occupies only the fourth place.