Africa

Last updated: 27 november, 2009 - 18:16 GMT

Tresor Mputu Mabi

TP Mazembe's rise to become champions of Africa again after a wait of 41 years can be linked directly to the impact of one man - Tresor Mputu Mabi.

So too can DR Congo's victory at this year's inaugural African Nations Championship in the Ivory Coast, where he was the player of the tournament.

Tresor Mputu Mabi

Mputu came to the fore in 2007, when he was top goalscorer in both the African Champions League and the Confederation Cup.

Mazembe failed to reach the group stage of the Champions League that year, but they almost reached the semi-finals in 2008.

Then as Mputu, 23, continued to mature as a player, he captained the Lubumbashi club all the way to victory in this year's competition.

Playing just behind the forwards, his ability to deceive defenders with his skills and trickery makes him very difficult to play against.

His work-rate is exceptional – he runs the game for his team and is the target of most of the balls forward, often moving up to join the strikers.

It has been puzzling why a player as talented as Mputu has continued to play on the African continent, when he clearly has what it takes to make it in Europe.

But Mazembe made him one of the best-paid players in Africa, reward for his loyalty to the club, and he has thus far turned down tempting offers to move overseas.

But having promised that he would stay with the club until they won the Champions League, he is now set to move on.

click Vote for the African Footballer of the Year now

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