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Where to now, Mputu?

Posted: 17 March 2009 Time: 10:00

One of the most baffling questions in African soccer currently is: “Why has DR Congo striker Tresor Mputu never been signed by a club in Europe, especially when he has been described as having the scoring ability of Samuel Eto’o, the quickness of Lionel Messi, and the creative ability of Spain’s Xavi?”

Mputu, who plays for TP Mazembe and was at one stage two years ago targeted by both Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns, has been poised to move to Europe since before the end of the 2007/08 season, when he finished top scorer in the CAF Champions League.   It is not that the diminutive hitman has been short of offers.   Both Tottenham Hotspur and Blackburn Rovers have had him for trials, while Mputu was also linked with Arsenal, Anderlecht, Olympiakos and Hull City throughout 2008. And a deal failed to materialise with Al-Ahly, despite the 22-year-old having had talks with the Egyptian champions.   It was former Cameroon and Congo national team coach Claude LeRoy who first scouted Mputu and then described him as ‘the next Samuel Eto’o. LeRoy’s assessment has been endorsed by other sources, with soccer pundits, including Arsenal’s Arsene Wegner, who all pointed to his incredible speed on the wings and effectiveness in the 18-yard box.   Others have praised his amazing ability to break down defences when filling the role as a central attacking midfielder rather than as an out-and-out striker.   So why is he still playing in homeland?   Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that Mputu is skinny and rather short, which makes him vulnerable of being defensively harassed in the grinding European leagues.   Mputu made his international debut at the age of 18 and was a member of the squad at the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations that progressed to the quarterfinals, where they were eliminated by eventual winners Egypt.   Although he played in only two games, he scored the first goal in DR Congo’s game against Togo, but was sent off in his second game against Angola within 19 minutes for lashing out at a defender. His subsequent suspension for the straight red meant he missed the rest of the campaign.   The following year he helped TP Mazembe reach the CAF Champions League, finishing as top scorer, and then continues his deadly form in the Confederation Cup.   Now the spotlight is on Mputu again following days of celebration sandwiched in between two major footballing triumphs.   The central African country, beset for decades by civil strife, have enjoyed a rare opportunity to put aside its turmoil after winning the inaugural African Nations Championship in the Ivory Coast. It was an unexpected success in the first edition of a tournament contested by domestic-based players, and the team came home to tumultuous welcome.   After being flown home in the presidential jet, joining President Joseph Kabila as he toured the east of the country, they were each awarded a 4x4 jeep and found themselves greeted by thousands of delirious fans as they were paraded through the streets of Kinshasa.   Amid all this revelry, it was expected that TP Mazembe, the pride of DR Congo’s club scene, might be distracted ahead of their CAF Champions League second round first leg tie against Petro Atletico of Angola.   As it was, the taste for victory seemed to have merely whetted the appetites of Mputu and his teammates, who prolonged Congolese celebrations with a convincing 3-0 victory.   Surely Mputu, named Chan’s Player of the Tournament, will get his big break sooner rather than later ...

Previous comments on this story...

posted: 10:16 am
posted: 10:22 am
I like u warn u people… never, never, never… watch the Spanish League and include the English / SA League and African Champions League at the same weekend… ur mind will go mad as u will stop watching those other leagues. When u watch the Spanish League (space and technique, goals galo, supa moves, outstanding fans and of course about 12 supa tough teams in the league) and then watch the so called BIG league in the World… English Premier League (crazy fans and 3 three dominating teams – Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal)…… then come back to watch the PSL… then African champions League (some times in that League they use one camera to the whole bloody game…)… u will know that the Spanish League is the BEST in the World….
posted: 10:46 am
Comrade Proffessor, u got it wrong this time… Laliga is dominated by two team Barca and Madrid whilst The English Premiership is ruled by Man U, Chelsea, Liverpool & Arsenal. But look at the teams challenging for honors in PSL – SSU, Chiefs, Pirates, Ajax and Arrow ( at one stage) surely we need some kind of recognition. Or do we have be white skinned or be in Europe to get noticed as one the top leagues in the globe???
posted: 11:05 am
Comrade Sifiso... i desagree....
posted: 11:24 am
Comrade Sifiso… I think maybe u watch highlights during the week… of course this season the league is dominated by Real Madrid and Barcelona. Let me school u as my comrade……..

These are the TEAMS that have won the Spanish League
• Real Madrid
• Barcelona
• Atlético Madrid
• Athletic Bilbao
• Valencia
• Real Sociedad
• Deportivo La Coruña
• Sevilla
• Real Betis

I will say Man United, Arsenal, Blackburn, and Chelsea won the new League! Can you please check the English League stats on more?

Spain: Real Madrid, Villarreal, Valencia, Barcelona, Atlético Madrid,
Sevilla, Mallorca, Deportivo La Coruña, Athletic Bilbao, Espanyol, Real Betis and Osasuna – these are the tough TEAMS….

Check the English League… tough Teams
• Man United
• Arsenal
• Liverpool (old Premier League Cup)… have it won the new LEAGUE (the formation of the new League)
• Chelsea

The rest are average – that’s why they don’t make it in the European Cup… if they do they struggle. Imagine every year playing these teams without competition: Aston Villa,
Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Everton, Fulham, Hull City, Middlesbrough,
Portsmouth, Stoke City, Sunderland, Tottenham Hotspur, West Bromwich, West Ham United, Wigan Athleticb and so on…
posted: 12:12 pm
Fair enough....
posted: 12:22 pm
Fair enough....
posted: 01:31 pm
Proffessor I share ur sentiments & aspects of ur analysis. English premiership is Man U and Chelsea inlcudind Arsenal and Liverpool noting that de latter 2's chances of winning de league are half dat of the 1st 2. Benitez was quoted complaining that de league belongs only to Man U and Chelsea.
posted: 01:47 pm
Proffessor have you ever kick the ball; this round thing you like to critise on; your critics sucks bro. this is not a chart room for you and yor goons, we are sick of reading your comments they are fruitless and nonsense.
posted: 02:41 pm
Tshepo: Whilst u MAY have a point wat has ur contribution been thus far. What can u say on this platform about football that every1 can take as a point. I do not want 2 compare u 2 the ANC because technically I am still a member of the party.
posted: 09:20 am
Proffessor : 2009-03-17 11:24
for the first time since reading these comments, i hear you talking sense, no offence. i also get bored to watch the leage of 4 teams(English. our media is blinding our fan by showing this minute league.Last year I watch Wimbldon final yeerrrr what a nonsens. it is tough in spain and Italy
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