Football - DR Congo: TP Mazembe's house cleaning

Mamie Manckay et Justine Boussu ne joueront pas avec le TP Mazembe contre Bayelsa Queens
Football - DR Congo: TP Mazembe's house cleaning

TP Mazembe are already preparing the next generation of players. The Lubumbashi-based black-and-whites have even parted company with several of their aging senior players, bringing in youngsters to fill various positions.

The 2023-2024 season will see a new-look Tout Puissant Mazembe. A much younger Les Corbeaux team, without many of the big names who have marked the club's history over the last ten years. TP Mazembe have parted company with some of their key players, such as the two captains, Rainford Kalaba and Djo Issam Mpeko. Having reached the end of their contracts, the latter were not renewed by the management.

After 13 years with TP Mazembe, Zambian captain Rainford Kalaba (36) won a CAF Champions League and two Confederation Cups with great personal commitment. He has also won 9 DRC championships. The management of the Lubumbashi-based club Noir-Blanc are hoping to offer him further opportunities. But this time as a technician, while he obtains his diplomas. For his part, Djo Issama Mpeko (34) spent 8 years with TP, winning 2 Confederation Cups and 5 DRC league titles.

For sports analyst Gullith Koba, both players have given their all. "These are two legendary players who are leaving after giving everything to the club. Kalaba carried TP Mazembe to two Confederation Cup titles in 2016 and 2017. Djo Issama remains one of the country's best right-backs. He's a player who, despite his age, still has some juice and could bounce back elsewhere. However, TP Mazembe want to revitalize their squad with youth. This is a good thing for future competitions," explains the specialist.

Kouamé also on the move
After the departures of the two captains, Kalaba and Issama, all the signs were that Ivorian Christian Koffi Kouamé would be TP Mazembe's new captain. The Ivorian defensive midfielder is not only one of the club's veterans, having spent 9 years in Lubumbashi, but also the player most used by the Crows over the last five seasons.However, according to sources close to the Lubumbashi club, the 32-year-old does not intend to stay. This, after all his time with the club, punctuated by a Champions League and two Confederation Cups, not to mention numerous DRC championship titles.

TP Mazembe have also amicably terminated the contracts of Congolese midfielder Amedée Masasi and goalkeeper Narcisse Junior Nlend.Having joined the club in February 2022 and January 2023 respectively, the two players failed to convince. Several players are still uncertain about their future, notably Andam Bossu and Jephté Kitambala. Other departures are also expected.

Outward-looking recruitment

TP Mazembe are certainly streamlining, but they are also strengthening their squad with young players.With an average age of 24, recruitment has so far focused on players from outside the country. Since the start of the mercato, the Corbeaux have already announced the signing of six players in various positions, including five foreigners. Nigerian midfielder Ousseini Soumaila Badamassi (26) has signed for two years plus an option year. Burkinabe central defender Madou Zon (25) has signed for three years.Malian left-winger Cheik Oumar Fofana (19) and Mauritanian right-back Ibrahim Keita (21) have both signed two-year contracts.

And that's not all. Lebanese midfielder Rabih Ataya (34), the only very old player to sign, but only for one season.The only Congolese player to have signed so far is central defender Josué Mungwengi (22), who has signed for five years. Also announced are the arrivals of two Senegalese, Alioune Badara-Faty (goalkeeper) and Jean Louis Diouf (midfielder).

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