DR Congo champions TP Mazembe have confirmed their participation in the 2019 CECAFA Kagame Cup Tournament due in Kigali from July 7-21.
The 2009 African champions last took part in the regional tournament in 2010. DRCongo teams AS Vita Club and Motema Pembe will also take part in the two-week tournament, alongside Zambia’s Zesco United plus teams from the region, except Tanzanian clubs which pulled out last week.
CECAFA Secretary General Nicholas Musonye said that plans to stage the tournament are complete and that 18 teams had already confirmed participation.
He said, “We have received confirmation from TP Mazembe of the DR Congo who want to participate in the tournament. This is a strong team and their presence will offer our clubs a platform to prepare for next season’s continental tournaments,” said Musonye.
The last time TP Mazembe were in Rwanda they were expelled from Kagame Cup following their riotous behaviour in a group match against APR.
Team captain Trésor Mabi Mputu led the TP Mazembe’s protests after Ethiopian referee Girma Zekeria had turned down their claim for a penalty. By the time the match was abandoned, APR was leading 1-0 courtesy of Kabange Twite’s 34th minute strike.
After being given marching orders for his aggressiveness towards the referee, Mputu called on his teammates to walk off the field.
Zekeria was subsequently chased around the field by a group of Mazembe players led by Mputu and as the official ran for his dear life, Basisila Lusadisu kicked him in the chest.
The match was abandoned on the 41st minute and Cecafa issued an immediate notice expelling Mazembe from the competition.
CECAFA brings together teams from Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Zanzibar.
Tanzania’s Azam FC are the defending champions, having beaten compatriots Simba in Dar es Salaam last year.