The last time Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) champions TP Mazembe lost a home match in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) champions League was on October 18 2009.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
Their opponents were Sudanese side Al Hilal Omdurman, who won courtesy of two first half goals by former Warriors and Dynamos forward Edward Sadomba.
Since then, the five-time African champions have not lost in 33 champions league home matches, winning 28 times and drawing on five occasions.
Today, the Zimbabwe champions — CAPS United — embark on a seemingly impossible mission to become the first club to beat TP Mazembe at the Stade du TP Mazembe in the champions league and the second to win in DRC since Al Hilal Omdurman.
With the odds weighing heavily against them, CAPS United vice-captain Hardlife Zvirekwi declared that they were gunning for victory.
“We are going there expecting a win. We are obviously going to look for an away goal and it’s possible you may win the match with that away goal. We want to grind a positive result to make things easier when we play at home,” he told Standardsport.
“Football is full of surprises these days. All things are possible if we just go there and apply ourselves well. The most important thing is we are going to be 11 vs 11 players, unless there is a red card; but we believe that it is possible to go past TP Mazembe.”
Zvirekwi said the motivation to beat TP Mazembe was naturally high in the camp because it was a high-profile match against African giants with great history.
TP Mazembe, who are the current CAF Confederations Cup champions are not new to Zimbabwean football having played Monomotapa and Dynamos in the same competition before.
A 7-0 aggregate win over Monomotapa at the semi-final stage in 2009 was followed by 2-0 and 2-1 wins over Dynamos, away and at home respectively in the group stages a year later.
Lloyd Chitembwe’s men made clear their intentions to reach the group stages on the African safari this season and TP Mazembe stand between them and the Holy Grail.
“Obviously, we are taking a step at a time. Before we started playing we said we wanted to reach the group stage, but we have found TP Mazembe as one of the hurdles to the group stage. Nothing has changed, we still want to progress to the group stages,” Zvirekwi said.
After finding a partner in Rainbow Airlines to charter a plane to the DRC, CAPS United leave the country this morning and are expected back home this evening.
Wingback Ronald Pfumbidzayi, remained Chitembwe’s only injury worry ahead of the crucial encounter.
Coached by Thiery Froger, TP Mazembe underlined their financial muscle when they signed former Belgium international defender Anthony Vanden Borre last week.
Vanden Borre has played for French side Montpelier, Anderlecht, Fiorentina, Genoa and Portsmouth.
The CAF champions’ league encounter kicks off at 3:30pm this afternoon.