Pitso’s Al Ahly move  inspires local coaches  

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Godknows Matarutse 

LOCAL coaches believe Pitso Mosimane’s recent move to Egypt to take up the hot seat at Al Ahly will open up doors for the rest of the coaches on the continent.

The South African shocked everyone when he tendered in his resignation at Mamelodi Sundowns last Tuesday evening.

Mosimane had entered the history books in the Super Diski after leading the Brazilians to five league titles in seven years.

He also led the Tshwane-based side to the African Champions League title in 2016 which cemented the club’s status as one of the continent’s top teams.

However, Mosimane’s new destination is the one that has got the entire continent talking after agreeing to take over at Ahly.

The Egyptian giants are truly one of the continent’s biggest teams after having won the African Champions League a record eight times.

The Red Devils are on track to add a ninth star on their jersey as they are currently in the semi-finals of the competition where they take on Wydad Casablanca in two weeks’ time.

Ahly have also won the Egyptian title a record 42 times and the Egyptian Cup on 36 occasions.
In the past, the Red Devils have settled mostly for local coaches or chose to hire big-name expatriates from Europe and South America.

Some of the top coaches that have taken charge of the Egyptian giants include the late Don Revie, Martin Jol, Jo Bonfrere, Patrice Carteron and Manuel Jose.

This time though, the Red Devils have bucked the trend and went for Mosimane, who arrived in Cairo last week together with his fitness trainer Kabelo Rangoaga and analyst Musi Matlaba.

In the club’s 113-year history, this is the first time they have appointed a coach from South Africa which is likely to cast a spotlight on the rest of the coaches in this part of the world, Zimbabwe included.

Legendary former Warriors and Dynamos coach Sunday “Mhofu” Chidzambwa reckons this is a game changer for local coaches.

Chidzambwa is the first coach, who led Zimbabwe to qualify for a major tournament, when the team reached the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in Tunisia.

The 68-year-old also had coaching stints in South Africa with Umtata Bush Bucks, Black Leopards and Free State Stars.

During all those spells, Chidzambwa pitted his wits against Mosimane, whom he hopes will do well with the Red Devils.

“This is with no doubt a huge challenge and responsibility for Pitso than when he was in South Africa.
“The fact that such an iconic club like Al Ahly entrusts Pitso with such a huge responsibility that on its own speaks volumes of his credentials and a huge seal of approval for black coaches especially from this part of the continent.

“I have respect for Pitso and I’m tipping him to succeed in Egypt. He is daring and has a lot of confidence. These are opportunities any coach who wishes to be at the top there finds difficult to resist,” Chidzambwa told the Daily News on Sunday last week.

Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas acknowledged that Mosimane has his work cut out for him in Cairo due to the humongous stature of Ahly.

Antipas is one of the few local coaches to get one over Mosimane after his Gamecocks side beat Mamelodi Sundowns 1-0 in the first leg of their 2016 African Champions League final qualifying round at Barbourfields Stadium.

The Brazilians progressed to the group stages after overturning the deficit with a 2-0 win in the second leg in Tshwane.

“I think Pitso fully deserved it. He has worked hard and results are there for everyone to see. I wish him the best and I hope he will succeed there in Egypt.
“There is no doubt it’s one of the most exciting jobs yet demanding. But I trust he will do well.

“He has done well at Sundowns and I believe he will do well again there. Of course it’s not going to be easy, the demands are high but he has the experience,” Antipas told the Daily News on Sunday.

Another local coach said he hopes this move to Egypt will help Mosimane understand the role foreigners have in enhancing other leagues.

“During Norman Mapeza’s time in South Africa, Pitso was very critical of foreign coaches but the irony of it is that he is now a foreign coach in Egypt. He needs to be humble and accept that things will not go his way in a new country and I think he will be able to find his feet.

Al Ahly are a big club and they have the necessary structure to help a good coach like Pitso to be successful,” said the coach.

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