Pitso Mosimane dedicates his third Caf Champions League title to Al Ahly president Mahmoud El Khatib

19 July 2021 - 13:10 By Marc Strydom
Pitso Mosimane has now won a record-breaking three Caf Champions League titles.
Pitso Mosimane has now won a record-breaking three Caf Champions League titles.
Image: BackpagePix

Pitso Mosimane dedicated his third Caf Champions League title win‚ beating Kaizer Chiefs 3-0 in Saturday’s final in Casablanca‚ to Al Ahly president Mahmoud El Khatib for having shown faith in an African coach.

Mosimane questioned how Fifa’s awards overlooked Africans‚ making the example of how he perhaps set a world record by winning five trophies in the 2019-20 season but was not even nominated for the Coach of the Year award won by Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp.

Mosimane became the first sub-Saharan African to coach Ahly, joining the Cairo giants in a bombshell move from Mamelodi Sundowns‚ where he had wrapped up a treble in the 2019-20 season‚ in September last year.

The chaotic effects of Covid-19 on domestic seasons saw him then wrap up another treble within months as he completed the delayed Egyptian League victory already wrapped up by Swiss predecessor Rene Weiler‚ and the 2019-20 Champions League from the semifinal stage. Ahly added the Super Cup in February.

Many predicted quick doom for Mosimane when he joined Africa’s club of the 20th century. Instead he has joined the pantheons of African club coaching legends.

“I want to dedicate the trophy to‚ of course‚ ‘Captain Bibo’ [Khatib]‚ because Mr Khatib gave trust to me. He believed in me that I could change the fortunes‚ because Ahly didn’t win the Champions League for [seven] years‚” Mosimane said after Ahly wrapped up their decima of 10 Champions League titles. “And he could have gone to Europe and brought all these Europeans who are always coming to Africa to coach. But Africans‚ we can win it ourselves.

“Why do we not believe that Africans can win it? The [2019] Africa Cup of Nations was won by Algeria and the coach [Djamel Belmadi] is Algerian. In the cup final was Senegal with Aliou Cisse.

“So we sometimes give the Europeans too much respect when we forget who we are. Why is it that Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah are conquering the Champions League [as players for Liverpool]?

“We just look for anybody from Europe and we give him the team. But Africa has the resources. Africa should trust its own people.

“There’s much we can do. Even in the Fifa awards‚ the Ballon d’Or and coach of the year‚ we don’t feature. It’s only the Europeans who feature.

“I mean‚ I’ve won trophies‚ I’ve won about nine. Nobody cares. I’m not the coach of Liverpool‚ but the history stays.”

Mosimane earned his third Champions League title on Saturday‚ again displaying a coaching masterclass in charge of an Ahly generation that is clearly strong‚ but also still in some form of rebuilding.

He became only the fourth coach in the 57-year history of the Champions League to win back-to-back titles‚ matching the feat too of the man considered Ahly’s best coach of the modern era‚ Portuguese Manuel Jose, in 2005 and 2006. Jose won four Champions Leagues‚ and Mosimane now stands alone in second place on three.

Ahly‚ who had not won the Champions League for a frustrating seven years before Mosimane’s arrival‚ went to 10 titles.