Medeama of Ghana believe they can overcome their financial difficulties and beat TP Mazembe in the Democratic Republic of Congo this weekend when the Confederation Cup group stage begins.It is a lofty ambition for a club battling to fund a trip from west to central Africa as they have never won a Confederation of African Football competition while their opponents can boast of having won nine titles.”We are prepared mentally and physically for the clash with Mazembe,” Medeama president Moses Armah told a local Ghanaian radio station.”The only challenge now is funding our trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo,” he said, referring to a problem faced by many clubs in Caf competitions.Medeama must travel to DR Congo, Algeria and Tanzania in the group phase and, should they finish bottom of the standings, will receive only $150,000 (105,000 euros) prize money.Armah said approaches to the sports ministry and Caf for financial assistance had been unsuccessful, but stressed that the trip to DR Congo was not in jeopardy, without giving details. “Once we overcome this obstacle, the boys will deliver the goods and beat Mazembe in Lubumbashi,” he said.Midfielder Malik Akowuah said the cash crisis meant a $2,000 bonus promised to each player for beating Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa in a play-off had not been paid.”I do not believe an unpaid bonus should affect our performance,” said Akowuah. “Mazembe are a big club but we are a tough nut to crack.”While Medeama came though three rounds of Confederation Cup qualifying to reach Group A, Mazembe were among five clubs demoted from the Champions League who won play-offs.The Congolese boast a perfect home record in Confederation Cup group games, winning all six in two previous campaigns. Medeama have yet to win away in Africa this year, losing twice and drawing once, and Ghana-born Mazembe midfielder Daniel Nii Adjei has written off the chances of his countrymen.”They want to win the Confederation Cup, but so do the other seven contenders,” said Adjei. “We have studied them and rest assured they will not win at our ground.”Novices Mouloudia Bejaia of Algeria host vastly experienced Young Africansof Tanzania in the other Group A match and are set to exploit home advantage and collect maximum points.Group B consists exclusively of North African clubs – 2010 Confederation Cup winners FUS Rabat and Kawkab Marrakech of Morocco, title-holders Etoile Sahel of Tunisia and Al Ahli Tripoli of Libya.All except Ahli, who cannot play at home because of militia-instigated lawlessness, have realistic hopes of a top-two finish and a semi-finals place. Morocco host both matchday 1 fixtures with FUS facing Ahli and Kawkab meeting Etoile, the only winners of all five past and present Caf club competitions.
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