Lessons from Al Ahly’s CAF victory


The past weekend witnessed two major championships, at two different venues.

One, the COSAFA Senior Championship, where South Africa clobbered Senegal on penalties, and two, Al Ahly punching Kaizer Chiefs with 3 goals without reply.

Although the two championship matches had varying significance to the country and the football fraternity at large, the loss of Chiefs represent a terrific opportunity to dissect, not only the gulf in class of the ‘African Club of the Century’ but a mixture of attributes making Al Ahly the most successful club on the continent.

FARPost Technical Study Group (TSG) assimilated various factors contributing to the success of the Egyptian powerhouse.

1. Mosimane factor

Pitso Mosimane is undoubtedly the best football manager (coach) in Africa. In Mosimane, Ahly have an intelligent machine, tactical genius and match-analysis guru.

Not only does Mosimane train his players, but he teaches the game too. From his days at SuperSport United to Mamelodi Sundowns, all that his mentees mention and recollect profoundly, is his enigmatic stance of his players playing the game and understanding it too.

2. Tactical plan

The Egyptians proved the FARPost TSG right, by sticking to a tactical formula best understood by its troops. In its TSG Analysis, this publication highlighted a solid tactical plan from Ahly, and on the night they proved correct. Ahly’s tactical plan assumed the following direction:

• Simple build-up game
• Structured possession-based ploy
• Aggressive tactical wing-play
• Clever movements in the midfield to attacking third.

3. Modern match-analysis

Leading to this encounter, Ahly had numerous matches in the Egyptian League. Whilst Chiefs opted to set camp in Limpopo, Mosimane instructed his two performance analysts (Musi Matlaba and Yusha Said) to not only analyze Chiefs matches, but look closely into their social media pages.

This method of analysis is unheard of, but was very useful in uncovering the technical-tactical secrets of the Chiefs tactical intentions. The two analysts pointed to Mosimane the recurring trends from the Chiefs training sessions (i.e., colour of bibs, frequency of changes and who were wearing what?).

4. Mind-games

Matches of this magnitude are often overloaded with reactions from coaches and supporters from both camps. This invariably leads to mind games and contrasting approaches either to spice the match or sell the tickets.

Mosimane is an ardent subscriber to mind games, i.e., a course of psychologically manipulative behaviour intended to discomfort another person or gain an advantage over them. In absolute stark contrast and untrue to his pre-match DNA, Mosimane opted to be calm and gave credit, respect and honour to Amakhosi, but deep down he was strategically plotting their downfall.

5. Team investment

According to the reliable website, Transfermarket.com both Ahly and Chiefs have similar squad size (32/37) and average age (27/27,3).

However it’s in the squad investment metrics that the Egyptian edge Amakhosi quite considerably, with Ahly team evaluation at (€27,2m) as compared to Chiefs (€15,2m).

As Kingfut.com reports on the impending transfer of both Soufiane Rahimi and Ben Malango to Ahly at a combined staggering fee of $9m, expect the ‘Red Devils’ to continue to soar high in the African football sky.

By FARPost Technical Study Group