The Democratic Republic of Congo authorities have announced a special bonus of $5000 for each player of TP Mazembe, who won the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup after defeating SuperSport United on Saturday.
The Club, based in Lubumbashi, claimed a narrow 2-1 win over the South African giants in the first leg and snatched a goalless draw in the reverse fixture to seal a double title, following their triumph in the domestic league last month.
“Each player of the club has been given $5000 by the government following Mazembe’s victory in the 2017 CAF Confederation Cup,” the club announced in a statement.
The gesture comes as a surprise to many locals considering the political rivalry between DR Congo president Joseph Kabila and TP Mazembe’s owner and bankroller Moise Katumbi, who is the country’s main opposition figure. He is currently in exile in Europe.
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“I think the gesture could be described as a sign of reconciliation or let me say, an attempt to quell the storm,” Stephan Kage, a Kinshasa-based computer scientist told Aclsports.com.
“Football has been a factor of peace and can still play that role at a time like this when our country is experiencing political uncertainties.”
Katumbi, a former governor and one of the richest men in DR Congo, vowed to return from exile in December to force the incumbent leader to step down following the expiration of his presidential term.
Mazembe is the most successful club in the country with 16 domestic titles and five CAF Champions League titles.