Booth and Igesund: All South Africans should get behind Pitso and Al Ahly
Former Mamelodi Sundowns defender Matthew Booth has said that victory for Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane in the Caf Champions League final in Egypt on Friday night would be momentous for him and the country.
Ex-Downs coach Mosimane and Al Ahly take on their bitter rivals Zamalek at Cairo International Stadium in this one-legged final where the two Egyptian giants will be meeting at this stage of the competition for the first time.
Booth‚ who was part of the Sundowns team that lost to Al Ahly in the Champions League final in 2001‚ said South Africans will be immensely proud if Mosimane gets his second Champions League trophy.
“I think it’s going to be a huge feather in his cap and the South African football public will be proud if it happens‚” said Booth‚ who was speaking at the Russian Embassy in Pretoria on Thursday where South African players who played in Russia were celebrated.
“Even if it doesn’t happen‚ I think we will still be proud of what he has achieved and not only him but the team that he took over. South African fans have taken to clubs that our players are transferred to and the same can be said with South African fans who have migrated to Al Ahly.
“He has been a great export for us. ‘Unprecedented’ is a word that we have used a lot this year and I think the same can be used for what coach Pitso has achieved in a short space of time. The greatest achievement for him is that he has been able to hit the ground running and manage the transition smoothly.
“He changed a few things but not the whole set-up and he has acknowledged the work that was done by the previous coach. That is a sign of being humble and accepting the reality of the situation.”
Former Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund shared Booth’s sentiments‚ saying that all South Africans should support Mosimane.
“I am very proud of Pitso. I think I was one of the first people to wish him well when he won the league last season‚ which was his fifth title‚” Igesund said.
“I think he has done magnificently well for himself and for Sundowns and I am very proud of him. I wish him all the best in the final on Friday.
“I think he has opened up the door for other South African coaches because I believe that we have quality in this country.
“I am not a jealous person and I am one of those who always want to see people do well. I have had success in the past by winning four championships and I know there are always people who always want to pull you down.
“But‚ I have learnt that we need to embrace each other and Pitso needs to be embraced because he has done a magnificent job and he will definitely open doors for our children.”
Zamalek are hoping to win their sixth Champions League title and their first since 2002, while Mosimane is eyeing his second trophy. Al Ahly are on the verge of their ninth title‚ which would be their first since beating Orlando Pirates in the 2013 final.