The fall and rise of Congolese football
If you blinked, you probably missed it - the debut appearance of one of Africa's legendary clubs on the global stage, that is.
For at this year's Fifa Club World Cup, TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo became the first sub-Saharan side to ever contest the competition.
Their stay was brief, beaten 2-1 by Pohang Steelers in the quarters before Wednesday's unfortunate 3-2 defeat to Auckland City. Yet it's worth paying attention to Mazembe because there's no knowing when they will return - especially given the impending departure of star player Tresor Mputu and the routine chaos of the Congolese game.
So why are Mazembe one of Africa's greatest names? And I'm not simply talking about their previous incarnation as Tout Puissant Englebert...
Well, for nearly four decades, the club was the only one on the entire continent to win back-to-back African Champions Cup (now African Champions League) titles. That was during their heyday in the 1960s, when the Lubumbashi club reached four consecutive finals.
But the first continental trophy for TP Englebert (the name rather unromantically coming from their tyre manufacturer sponsors) was fortuitous. 'Before the first leg, Englebert were forbidden wine and women and interned at a military camp,' World Soccer magazine reported - fitting preparation for a club founded by Benedictine monks in the 1930s.
After the two legs against Asante Kotoko ended all square, a mix-up meant the Ghanaians never learnt of the rescheduled play-off in Cameroon - leaving Englebert to pitch up alone and thus 'win' the trophy.
The next year they triumphed more regularly, beating Togo's Etoile Filante in the final, but the 'Crows' were then beaten finalists in both 1969 and 1970.
Nonetheless, their achievements were in large part thanks to the politics of post-independence Congo in the swinging sixties, when music, dancing and football all flourished.
Midway through the decade, Mobutu Sese Seko took office - and here was a man who instinctively understood football's propagandist values. A football tournament was staged to celebrate his accession to power and after the national team thumped high-flying African champions Ghana 3-0 in 1966, Mobutu invested heavily in the sport.
Amongst other measures, he brought home all Congolese then playing in Belgium by buying out their contracts, renamed the national team the 'Leopards' to match his trademark hat and then oversaw them beating a touring Santos side for whom Pele scored twice.
Tresor Mputu is in the running for BBC African Player of the Year 2009
That wasn't the only reward for the Congolese won the 1968 and 1974 Nations Cups, and reached the 1974 World Cup - the players receiving cars, houses and the country's highest honour as they did so.
But 1974 was a rollercoaster for Zaire (as DR Congo was then) as the African champions - and sub-Saharan Africa's first World Cup finalists - were humiliated in West Germany.
While the opening 2-0 defeat against Scotland was disappointing, it paled into insignificance compared to the 9-0 destruction by the Yugoslavs. Worse was to follow in the final group game when defender Mwepu Ilunga showed he didn't actually know football's rules, infamously running out to kick the ball as Brazil prepared to take a free-kick.
The Zaireans' 3-0 defeat was fortunate though, since Mobutu's security officials had reportedly warned the players they would be exiled should they lose by four goals. But the damage had been done and the love affair with football was over for Mobutu - and hence largely over for the fortunes of Congolese sides.
Ever since, Africa's third largest country has developed a well-earned reputation for chaos affecting its football, with coaches going unpaid, regular rows over bonuses and chronic administration.
Perhaps there's no finer example than DR Congo's final 2006 Nations Cup qualifier, for which coach Claude LeRoy literally found two players at an airport. This was in South Africa, where a draw was needed to qualify but where only 13 players had travelled due to administrative issues.
Inviting the duo - who both played for Johannesburg's Orlando Pirates - to train with the team, LeRoy was impressed by what he saw, using one as a substitute as the Congolese drew 2-2, and ultimately both airport well-wishers made the Frenchman's Nations Cup squad.
"I bet no other coach has been able to do that," LeRoy claimed.
But though ever present at all Nations Cups between 1992 and 2006, the Leopards have been absent since - even though some 100,000 fans often roar them on in Kinshasa - nor they have ever returned to the World Cup.
In fact, Congolese football's downward spiral only stopped when another politician stepped in. And being both club president and governor of Mazembe's home province, Moise Katumbi was prepared to pump in some US$5m in a bid to rekindle former glories.
It was mission accomplished as Mazembe beat Nigeria's Heartland in the Champions League final to become Africa's third most successful side in the competition. But the glory may not last for both Katumbi and Mazembe are resigned to losing Mputu, whose replacement has already been lined up.
So without the talisman of recent years, DR Congo's most popular club may well drop off the global radar again.