TP Mazembe chairman Moise Katumbi is not taking victory for granted ahead of the second leg of the African Champions League final tomorrow.
The reigning title-holders travel to face Esperance of Tunisia holding a 5-0 lead from the first leg. But a wary Katumbi has been drilling the importance of not being over-confident into his squad ahead of the Tunis clash.
“Anything can happen in the return leg,” he warned. “It all depends on the players so we are there to prepare them.”
“We don’t want to lose this title and must win it back with our sweat.”
The Congolese are taking the second leg so seriously, despite their large lead, that the Lubumbashi club has spent the last week preparing in Belgium prior to leaving for Tunis in the next 48 hours.
The Mazembe chairman has also credited the arrival in September of former Senegal coach Lamin Ndiaye with instilling a sense of freedom in his team.
“Lamin’s influence on the team has been very good as he’s made all the players feel free,” the 45-year-old told BBC Sport.
“All the players want to play, fight and win - Lamin has instilled a fighting spirit.”
Ndiaye, who came in after Champions League-winning coach Diego Garzitto surprisingly absconded, is set to be offered a new contract.
Should Mazembe lift the trophy at the Rades Stadium on Saturday, they would become the first side to defend the trophy on two separate occasions.
Having been the first club to do so in 1967 and 1968, it took nearly four decades before the feat was repeated by Nigeria’s Enyimba (2003 and 2004) and then Egypt’s Al Ahly (2005 and 2006).
“To defend this trophy again would be really good for DR Congo, for the province of Katanga and for me as Mazembe chairman,” Katumbi added.