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Fifa boss Sepp Blatter hails TP Mazembe feat

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BBC Sport - December 17, 2010
TP Mazembe

Fifa chief Sepp Blatter says TP Mazembe's place in the Club World Cup final shows how Africa is progressing.

The African champions will play their European counterparts Inter Milan of Italy, in the final on Saturday.

Speaking in Abu Dhabi where the tournament is taking place, Blatter praised the African side.

"Mazembe is going to write a new page of football history [on Saturday], with an African team in the final for the first time," he said.

"It will be a great match. Mazembe against Inter Milan, the European champion, a big event," he continued.

Mazembe became the first team from outside Europe or South America to qualify for the final of the competition when they beat highly-rated South American champions SC Internacional of Brazil.

Fifa President Blatter says the game presents the ideal opportunity for Africa to show that they are among the best in the world.

After Internacional coach Celso Roth expressed surprise at how well The Crows played against his side, another Brazilian, Inter's Maicon, said his team won't underestimate the Lubumbashi-based team.

"Mazembe is a very strong team and it is going to be very difficult," the defender said.

"There are similarities between African and Brazilian football and in Inter there are several Brazilians, so we hope to be ready," Maicon added.

His team mate Julio Cesar also agreed that the final will not be as easy as some suspect.

"There has always been a European and South American domination of this tournament but now here is an African team that has shown that everything is to play for on Saturday," he concluded.

Mazembe face Inter on Saturday, with the match scheduled to kick off at 1700 GMT.


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