While there is no South African club involved in Friday night’s Africa Champions League final showdown, Mzansi citizens will have vested interest in the all-Egyptian tie pitting Al Ahly and Zamalek.
Pitso Mosimane, born in Kagiso, west of Johannesburg in Krugersdorp, is the man luring local fans to follow that clash with keen interest. The Al Ahly coach is on the cusp of making history, but what would winning the prestigious cup for the second time mean for him?
He’d only be the third coach to win the Champions League with two different teams.
The former Bafana Bafana coach can become only the third man to win African football’s premium club competition with two different teams. Argentina-born Oscar Fullone and Egyptian Mahmoud El-Gohary, are the two men who have lifted the coveted cup twice with two different clubs.
Mosimane led Mamelodi Sundowns to the prestigious cup in 2016. Ironically, he had to guide Masandawana past the same Zamalek, winning 3-1 over two legs.
It would set him apart as South Africa’s best ever coach.
Mosimane established himself as South Africa’s most successful coach after eclipsing the four league titles won by Gordon Igesund and Gavin Hunt. Just before leaving South Africa’s shores, Mosimane captured his fifth league title and a Champions League triumph would validate his new status as the country’s ‘best ever’ coach. In fact, it would easily make him the best in sub-Saharan Africa.
It would endear him to the Al Ahly faithful.
Egyptian fans are known to be a demanding lot. At this stage, the ‘Club of the Century’ yearns for another continental title to ascertain their position as the crème of the continent. The fact that they have gone seven years without winning the Champions League is tantamount to waning fortunes. The domestic league has never been an issue for them and after losing two finals in recent years, Mosimane would have etched a special place in the hearts of the Red Devils’ fans if he gets them the sought-after trophy.
It would set him up for an extraordinary milestone.
Who can claim to have won a treble in two different countries with two different clubs in a matter of months? Having won a treble before leaving after winning the Nedbank Cup, the Telkom Knockout Cup and the Premiership, he would be on the cusp of winning another treble in a foreign land. Of course, Rene Weiler, his predecessor, did much of the work, but the man who gets to complete the job is ‘Jingles’. He has already wrapped up the domestic league win and the Reds are in the Egyptian Cup semi-final. It could be another treble to end an unbelievable year for him.
It would put him beyond the reach of any local club.
His stock would certainly rise should he win Africa’s premium club competition and he would be beyond the reach of any local club. The five-time Premiership winner was already beyond the reach of most local clubs after his achievements with the Brazilians and going on to achieve such a feat in north Africa will make him unobtainable even to the country’s biggest clubs.
The next destination would be Europe or a more illustrious national team.
In Ahly, Mosimane joined Africa’s biggest club and guiding them to the African title would mean the next sensible venture would be taking charge of a European club or one of the big African national teams. Even before his move to Egypt, he was held in high regard by north Africans after his exploits with Downs and who knows – they could, someday, court him to preside over their national teams.
It would be a massive statement
… particularly talking to the capabilities of a South African coach in the context of the game at continental level. In fact, for him to move out of his comfort zone and go and win it in Egypt will be massive. It would speak volumes of his calibre and probably an emerging paradigm shift looking at the fact that all along South Africa always looked for Messiahs from outside.
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By Mthokozisi Dube