Mazembe’s Katumbi lambasts DR Congo President after team flight delayed

Mazembe’s Katumbi lambasts DR Congo President after team flight delayed
Koffi Kouame (l), Rainford Kalaba (c) and Arsene Zola Kiaku (r) celebrate with trophy as TP Mazembe win the 2017 CAF Confederations Cup Final against Supersport United at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa on 25 November 2017 @Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

by Austin Ditlhobolo

Tuesday Nov 28, 2017. 12:00

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) giants Mazembe were forced to delay Monday's victory celebrations due to a change in travel plans.

Nicknamed the Ravens, Mazembe successfully defended their CAF Confederation Cup trophy after beating South African side SuperSport United 2-1 on aggregate on Saturday.

According to BBC, the squad was due to fly directly back to Lubumbashi from Johannesburg on Monday morning.

However, the team's scheduled flight on Monday morning was delayed by 10 hours before the team decided to change their trip and leave on Tuesday instead. They will fly to the Zambia town of Ndola before completing their trip home by road.

The reasons for the change of plans are unclear but the club are blaming the fact that their owner Moise Katumbi is the main opposition to the DR Congo president Joseph Kabila.

Katumbi has been in exile in Belgium for the last two years as he campaigns against Kabila and protests the fact that presidential elections have been delayed since 2016.

Thousands of fans had been expected at the airport in Lubumbashi to welcome the team back with their latest trophy.

"Why should a team that has just won a continental cup be denied landing rights in their own country; just because the team belongs to me?" a fuming Katumbi told BBC Sport.

"This is not about Moise Katumbi. The victory is for the Congolese people. That's why I have been saying Kabila is bad for human rights."

Katumbi has been the president of Mazembe since 1997. The Ravens have won the CAF Champions League title five times, including 2009, 2010, and 2015.

The team became the first African team to play in the FIFA Club World Cup finals in 2010. They have also won the Confederation Cup twice.

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