Wednesday Dec 22, 2021. 12:00
TP Mazembe defender Kabaso Chongo says the DR Congo giants eagerly await the December 28 CAF Confederation Cup group stage draws.
The tournaments’ two-time winners were relegated to the 2021/2022 CAF Confederation Cup after making a pre-group stage exit in October from the CAF Champions League at the hands of continental first-timers Amazulu of South Africa.
But the shadow of the SA PSL followed Mazembe on the next turn in December in the CAF Confederation Cup where they beat Marumo Gallants 1-0 on aggregate to redeem themselves to qualify for the league phase.
Mazembe now head into the 16 team draws together with two other former CAF Confederation Cup winners namely RS Berkane of Morocco and record three-time champions CS Sfaxien from Tunisia.
Pyramids of Egypt and South Africa’s Orlando Pirates who were runners-up in 2020 and 2015 respectively are also in next Tuesday’s draws to be held at CAF headquarters in Cairo.
“There are no easy games these days and there are no underdogs anymore but the 90 minutes in each game will tell the full story,” Kabaso told Africanfootball.
“We didn’t have a good start in this year’s continental campaign especially after we were earlier knocked out of the CAF Champions League and later in the CAF Confederation Cup where we are very relieved to have managed to secure qualification.
“But things are picking up now back at home in the league and we are working very hard as we wait for the group draws.”
Mazembe are unbeaten in the 2021/2022 DR Congo Ligue 1 after twelve games played with just one draw that they recorded seven matches ago.
The Lubumbashi side has 34 points, five points more than their arch-foes from Kinshasa AS Vita Club.
“Things are looking promising and the team is picking up momentum in the league where we are top of the log,” the Chipolopolo Zambia defender said.
“These are signals that Mazembe is showing signs of the team everyone knows.
“Mazembe sets very high standards for itself and everyone expects us to do well regardless of who we will be drawn against in the group stage.”
Mazembe have not played in the CAF Confederation Cup final since completing back-to-back triumphs in the 2016 and 2017 season.
Furthermore, the Lubumbashi giants have not been in the CAF Champions League final since tasting success in 2015 when they won their fifth African title.
“As players, we all have one objective and that is to reach the final and win the CAF Confederation Cup so that we can bring Mazembe back to where it belongs,” Kabaso said.