There are few better ways for a club to put themselves in the spotlight than by reaching a FIFA Club World Cup final. And that is exactly what Congo DR’s TP Mazembe Englebert have done by beating Club de Futbol Pachuca and SC Internacional do Porto Alegre at UAE 2010.
As they prepare to take on the mighty F.C. Internazionale Milano in Saturday’s final, FIFA.com reveals three interesting facts about the overachieving African champions.
A name that speaks volumes
There are several 'powerful' sides in world football. Bolivia have The Strongest, Spain have Hercules, and Congo DR have their own musclemen in TP Mazembe Englebert. The 'TP' stands for 'Tout Puissant' (French for 'all powerful') and was adopted by the team in its early days.
The club was founded in 1939 under the name of FC Saint Georges Elisabethville, as the city of Lubumbashi was formerly known, before being taken over five years later by the tyre manufacturing firm Englebert. Unbeaten during the course of its first season under its new owners, the club renamed itself Tout Puissant to celebrate the achievement. In Swahili, 'Mazembe' means 'Crows' and was incorporated into the club’s name in tribute to the black and white jersey worn by the team.
TP Mazembe have their imitators in the Congolese league, which also boasts teams by the names of Tout Puissant Molunge, Tout Solide Malekesa and Tout Capable Elima.
Let’s all do the Kidiboikie
As you will no doubt have noticed by now, Crows goalkeeper Muteba Kidiaba greets every goal his side scores with a unique celebration, which involves him sitting down and bouncing along the ground on his backside.
“It started off as an exercise for my abdominal muscles and for improving my flexibility on the ground so I could get up more quickly,” the extrovert keeper tells FIFA.com. “My team-mates have a good laugh when I do it in training. When one of them scores I just have to express my joy, and this is the first thing that came to mind.” Its inventor has even given the eye-catching celebratory routine a name: the Kidiboikie.
A formidable wall
Kidiaba’s antics are not the only unusual sight The Crows have been responsible for in Abu Dhabi. Prior to the kick-off in each half of every game, the TP players have been forming a line on their goal-line and kneeling down, looking back down the pitch as they do so.
“We usually form a circle in the centre of the pitch and say our prayer there, but the rules are more strict in the Club World Cup and we have less time to do it,” explains the team’s Cameroonian midfielder Amia Ekanga. “So we decided to do it on our goal-line. As soon as we finish, everyone gets into their positions and the game can start.”
Team-mate Dioko Kaluyituka also believes the pre-match ritual sends a message to their rivals: “When we line up as one between the posts it shows opposing strikers that they’ll have to work really hard to score. Subconsciously it could demoralise them a little bit, and up to now it’s been working.”