In the African football scene, some figures stand out not only for their passion for the sport but also for their significant impact on its development across the continent. Moïse Katumbi, president of TP Mazembe, is one of these iconic personalities. And his recent announcement on the BBC waves is set to shake up the football landscape in the Democratic Republic of Congo…

“I do have experience. I have been involved in football for about 40 years, 27 of which have been at the helm of TP Mazembe. Soon I will retire from football. I have already surpassed 25 years and I believe I am the oldest president on the continent. It is time to make way for the youth,” declared the 59-year-old leader on Saturday, thus announcing his upcoming departure from TP Mazembe.

Katumbi’s journey at the helm of one of Africa’s most prestigious clubs, TP Mazembe, is marked by success: three African Champions League titles (2009, 2010, 2015), a Club World Cup final appearance in 2010, and multiple DR Congo league titles. His dedication has allowed TP Mazembe, which has just reached the Champions League semi-finals, to become a true force in African football again in the 2010s, as evidenced by this sporting success on a continental and global scale. He also established the Katumbi Football Academy, a genuine TPM training center.

His departure: a tough blow, but…
His departure will represent a huge loss for TP Mazembe given his financial investment and leaves supporters in uncertainty. However, TP Mazembe often pays a high price for the political commitments of its boss. Katumbi was indeed a historical opponent of former president Joseph Kabila, which forced him into exile in Europe. He then lost the presidential election in December 2023, being surpassed by Félix Tshisekedi. Since then, TP Mazembe has regularly denounced the obstacles put in its way by the authorities in retaliation for its chairman’s activities.

For instance, in early March, during the 6th and final day of the Champions League, his club once again faced difficulties in obtaining flight authorization to travel to South Africa via a private flight to face Mamelodi Sundowns, despite multiple attempts with the competent authorities. This situation, perceived as blatant injustice by the Corbeaux of Lubumbashi, stemmed from the Congolese authorities. Katumbi had obviously protested, urging the state to “not mix politics and sports.” TP Mazembe had finally been able to travel to South Africa, but through… a commercial flight! Supporters also regularly lament that the Corbeaux de Lubumbashi’s Champions League matches are not broadcast on RTNC… The departure of the iconic president may at least reduce the club’s exposure to the wrath of political power.

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