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Ndaye Mulamba, an African football icon

Updated: Dec 20, 2023


Ndaye Mulamba (Zaire - Scotland) - 1974 World Cup

Ndaye Mulamba during Zaire's group match against Scotland at the 1974 World Cup in West Germany. (June 14, 1974) | Credit: FIFA

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Congolese football player, Pierre Ndaye Mulamba, has carved his name in the annals of African football history. Despite never playing internationally, he achieved remarkable success, winning two prestigious African cups with AS Vita Club and the national team of the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire).


Ndaye Mulamba's football journey began at Katoka, a youth club in Kananga, where he initially played as a right-back. However, during an inter-district tournament, his exceptional talent came to the fore. Displaying his prowess as an attacker, he scored more than four goals in a single game, which led to his conversion to a forward—a position he would embrace.


His impressive performance caught the attention of Renaissance de Kananga, and he later joined Union St-Gilloise (US Tshinkunku), where he was known by the nickname "Mutumbula" for his speed on the field.

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Union St-Gilloise (US Tshinkunku) 1968

Ndaye Mulamba (3rd player crouching) and his teammates from Union St-Gilloise (US Tshinkunku), Kananga. (June 1968) | Credit: US Tshinkunku

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Eventually, he moved to As Bantou, where he further developed as a more dangerous player. In his debut season, he emerged as the top scorer in the local league. This achievement attracted the notice of national team coach Ferenc Csanádi. Unfortunately, Ndaye was overlooked in favor of players plying their trade abroad and was not able to participate in the 1968 Africa Cup of Nations, where the Congolese national team clinched the title.


Despite the initial resistance from fans of his former team, Ndaye's exceptional abilities earned him a place in AS Vita Club, the reigning Congolese champions. With Vita Club, he tasted success by winning the CAF Champions League in 1973, solidifying his reputation as a formidable player.


However, it was the 1974 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt that elevated Ndaye's status to new heights. He showcased his scoring prowess throughout the tournament, setting an enduring record of nine goals, including four in the final match, which led Zaire to its second Africa Cup of Nations triumph. As a reward for their achievement, President Mobutu gifted each player a villa in Lemba/Salongo along with a car.

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Ndaye Mulamba during the 1974 Africa Cup of Nations final in Egypt - Zaire/Zambia. (March 12, 1974)

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Unfortunately, the Zaire national team's performance at the subsequent World Cup did not match their continental success. They suffered defeats in all three of their group stage matches, including a notable loss to Yugoslavia (9-0) where Ndaye received a red card.


The tournament marked the beginning of a downward spiral in Ndaye's career. In the match against Brazil, the Leopards put up a valiant fight but ultimately succumbed to a 3-0 defeat. Despite their relentless pressure, they couldn't find a breakthrough.

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Ndaye Mulamba during Zaire's group match against Scotland at the 1974 World Cup in West Germany. (June 14, 1974) | Credit: FIFA/WEREK

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Following his World Cup adventure, Ndaye concluded his career at AS Vita Club after reaching the CAF final once again in 1981. To this day, his record of nine goals in a single Africa Cup of Nations tournament remains unbroken, a testament to his extraordinary talent and impact on the game.


Pierre Ndaye Mulamba, with his impressive achievements and contributions to Congolese and African football, stands as an icon, inspiring generations of players and leaving an indelible mark on the history of the sport in the continent.

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Henock Kalala - (LEBEAUZAÏRE)

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Ndaye Mulamba gallery

Pictures of Pierre Ndaye Mulamba "Mutumbula" | Credit: Horstmüller

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