After beating Zamalek 2-1 in the African Champions League final
and snatching the continental title, Ahly South African coach Pitso Mosimane
has praised the performance of his team's players, confirming the trophy is his gift to all Ahly fans.
The Red Devils defeated archrivals Zamalek 2-1 to secure a record-extending ninth Champions League title, their first since 2013, atoning for two final losses against Morocco's Wydad and Tunisia's Esperance in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
"I thank the players, my technical team, my family, and Ahly's board and supporters,” Mosimane was quoted as saying on the Confederation of African Football (CAF) official website on Monday.
"The trophy is my gift to all Ahly fans. They waited too long,"
The 56-year-old was appointed in October, succeeding Swiss coach Rene Weiler who implied that he was homesick.
"When you are given a job by a great club like Ahly, which has the record for the most trophies won in the continent, you have to know what it takes to accept this job," Mosimane said.
"I thank Ahly's President Mahmoud El-Khateeb for his trust, and I also thank Sundowns' President for allowing me to go. I wanted to give El-Khateeb a gift, as his birthday was last month. Here it is!"
Despite Zamalek's dominance throughout the match, Ahly recovered quickly and managed to pull the rug from underneath Zamalek.
"In the first 45 minutes of the final, I believe the players had the same question in their minds and that’s why we did not play well. I felt a bit worried, but when you fly a plane you must not show that because your passengers depend on you,” the South African coach said.
"I thank Ahly fans who treat me very well. It’s very important to respect others and show them you are one of the family so there would be mutual respect,"
"I also believe almost more than 50% of Sundowns fans are now supporting Al-Ahly because of the good relations that gather both sides, especially at these times," Mosimane said.
Ahly supporters call the South African coach as the "King" after his superb performance with the team that helped in clinching the Egyptian Premier League title and reaching the semifinals of the Egyptian Cup before snatching the continental title.
"I came here to win the Champions League with Ahly, and we did. But that’s just the beginning."
Ahly have a busy schedule ahead of them as they are set to face Ittihad of Alexandria in the Egyptian Cup semi-final on Tuesday, before playing the African Super Cup game against Morocco’s Renaissance Berkane, after which they will start defending the Premier League title, as well as fly to take part in the FIFA Club World Cup.
"We have no time, now we play for the Egypt Cup, Egyptian Super Cup, and CAF Super Cup, and then we will start preparing for the FIFA Club World Cup. We want to win all what we can win because our supporters deserve that," Mosimane concluded.
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