Mosimane hails 'career-changing' Ahly spell

Mahmoud Sheleib , Wednesday 15 Jun 2022

Pitso Mosimane said he is grateful to Ahly for giving him the chance to embark on a career-changing journey, which surprisingly ended when he terminated his deal by mutual consent earlier this week.



"Yes I'm leaving but you have to understand this team means a lot for me, it changed my career," Mosimane said in a video published on Ahly's official website on Wednesday.

The South African coach departed after 20 months, during which he collected six titles including two consecutive African Champions League crowns.

He was close to delivering a record third straight title but Ahly fell at the last hurdle, losing 2-0 to Morocco's Wydad in a final played in Casablanca.

Despite his success, Mosimane came in for some fierce criticism from local media and some former Ahly players, who believed the team had not made sufficient progress under his guidance, pointing to last season's Egyptian Premier League loss to arch-rivals Zamalek. 

"Normally when the teams part ways with coaches it’s either the coach is not happy or the club is not happy, but I’ve never seen a special arrangement like this one where we feel and respect each other for parting," said Mosimane.

"Nobody pushed me to go, I had all the respect from (club chairman) captain Bibo and his board even from the players."

Mosimane paid tribue to chairman Mahmoud El-Khatib, famously known as Bibo, for believing in him.

He said El-Khatib, an Egyptian footballing icon, understands the pressure of being in charge of such a club. He also said El-Khatib had never interfered in his job. 

"He gave me the chance, he gave me advice when it's needed, I also gave him my feedback and what I see as a coach and what I see now and what I see for the future. So I had support from the board, even the guys who are cleaning out my office now, they are very, very sad," Mosimane added.

"Do you think it's very easy to leave a team like this? It's very difficult. I was respectfully treated and nobody owes me one cent. I never fought for money. What a way to leave?! Inshallah maybe next time we meet, you'll never know."

Best moment 

Mosimane said the moment he enjoyed the most was when Ahly defeated bitter foes Zamalek 2-1 in the African Champions League final in November 2020, which was dubbed the "derby of the century".

The precious triumph came little less than two months after he became the first non-Egyptian African to take charge of the Red Devils. 

"There are many special games and moments, they (the players) made me run to the corner flag and celebrate with the goals. Those will be special moments for me," Mosimane said. 

"The biggest win that made me really run, I know it meant a lot for me and meant a lot for Ahly's history was the derby of the century. We could not lose that match, it might never happen in a lifetime again, and it never happened before. Alhamdulelah we won that match and it remains the highest level for me."

On Ahly's future, the 57-year-old said he believes his successor will take the team to a higher level and that any coach would love to lead the team.

Sami Komsan, Mosimane's assistant, has been named as an interim coach as Ahly look for a foreign replacement to the former South Africa boss. 

When asked about any advice he has for Komsan, Mosimane said: "I can't advise him, maybe he has his own ways of doing, maybe he's always wanted to do things differently, because it's his time and his space, so it's very difficult for me to say to him follow what I was doing. I can't say that."

"He's a good guy, motivated; he learns quickly. He has been with me when we played Zamalek many times, maybe five times. He knows what it's needed to win, to play against a big team like Zamalek, to play against Pyramids, but I have to respect him, and leave him because it's not my space anymore.

"I hope the players give him respect to take the team forward. Why not, maybe it's his chance and if he's ready he can take it."

On Tuesday, Mosimane's agency denied in a statement rumours suggesting that he had already agreed to take charge of a Qatari club.

The agency also revealed that Mosimane has been approached by multiple international and local sides, including national teams, but that he had not yet signed any deals.  

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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