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Le Bombardier

Joseph Moura/ Twenty Ten

Associated features: The Legends, Ghana (Photo feature), What have they become? (Photo feature), All Whites (Photo feature), Qui sont-ils devenus?Congo (Audio feature), Que sont-ils devenus? Cameroon (Audio feature), Death of a Legend (Photo feature)

Lieu: Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

Pierre Kalala Mukendi alias « Le Bombardier » était un avant-centre congolais né le 22 novembre 1939 à Lisaki dans la province du Katanga (République Démocratique du Congo). Marié et père de neuf enfants, il était vice-capitaine des Léopards, l'équipe nationale congolaise, avec laquelle il a remporté, le 21 Janvier 1968, la quatrième Coupe d’Afrique des nations face aux Black Stars du Ghana à Addis-Abeba. Doté d'une frappe de balle puissante, d'une grande combativité ainsi que d'une intelligence tactique, le Bombardier a une panoplie technique complète.

Pierre Kalala a fait ses débuts au TP Englebert (actuellement Mazembe). Grâce à son apport, le TP Englebert a terminé champion de Lubumbashi (dans la province du Katanga), puis champion du Zaïre (RD Congo) et enfin champion d’Afrique des clubs en 1967 et 1968. Il fut aussi finaliste de la compétition africaine en 1969 et 1970. Le Bombardier a pris sa retraite en 1972 pour devenir entraineur de TP Mazembe et plus tard de l’équipe nationale du Zaïre, Les Léopards, en 1981.

Durant son parcours de footballeur professionnel, il marqua plus de 500 buts en 90 sélections.

The Bombardier

Location: Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

Prolific striker, Pierre Kalala Mukendi charts his football career.

‘The Bombardier’ was the nickname given to Congolese striker, Pierre Kalala Mukendi, for his powerful strike, great resilience and tactical awareness.

Born on November 22, 1939 in Lisaki, a province of the Katanga region in the now-Democratic Republic of Congo, Pierre was an unstoppable force as the vice-captain of The Leopards, then-Zaire’s national side. Thanks to him, his side won the African Cup of Nations in 1968 in Addis Ababa.

As a husband and a father to nine children, the archive of his football career is tucked away in old photograph albums that he is only too happy to dig out. Images of him shaking the hand of President Mobuto and receiving accolades from the President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, are stuck beside action shots for which The Bombardier became known.

Pierre began playing football for TP Englebert which is now known as TP Mazembe. His prowess with the team landed them the title of African Club Champions two years in a row, in 1967 and 1968. During his prolific career, the striker scored an astonishing 500 goals in 90 caps.

Following his retirement in 1972, The Bombardier went into coaching. He started with his former team, TP Mazhembe and moved on to coach The Leopards in 1981.

With such football legends as Pierre now retired from the game, there are big boots to fill for up and coming soccer players in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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