Al Ahly's Mohamed El-Shenawy celebrates with the trophy and teammates after winning the final REUTERS
The belief of Ahly players in their coach Pitso Mosimane helped the team in their recent success, said skipper Mohamed El-Shenawi, who heaped praise on the South African coach after winning the African Champions League title on Friday.
The Red Devils defeated archrivals Zamalek 2-1 to secure a record-extending ninth Champions League title and their first since 2013, atoning for two final losses against Morocco's Wydad and Tunisia's Esperance in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
“My joy is indescribable. We were worried and pressed as we promised the fans to win the title after the quarterfinal match against Mamelodi Sundowns,” the veteran goalkeeper El-Shenawi told Al-Ahly TV channel after the match.
“I would like to thank coach Mosimane for his great effort with the team in the last period. The coach made the mission easier for all of us since his arrival after his first talk with the players about the club’s value, fans and history. The players believed in the coach especially as his speech came in time,” the 31-year old player added.
Mosimane delivered the precious title little less than two months into the job, having taken over in October following the sudden departure of Swiss Rene Weiler.
The 56-year-old was appointed in October, succeeding Swiss coach Rene Weiler who implied that he was homesick. Mosimane led Ahly to an impressive 5-1 aggregate win over Wydad in the semis before delivering the title at Zamalek's expense.
Mosimane became only the third coach to win the African trophy with two teams after Argentine Oscar Fullone and Egyptian Mahmoud El-Gohary, having grasped it while in charge of Mamelodi Sundowns in 2016 with another final victory over Zamalek.
Ahly are on course for a treble of titles, having already won the Egyptian Premier League title and reached the Egypt Cup semis.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)