Ahly’s South African coach Pitso Mosimane has stressed that his side needs to be mindful of the strengths and weak points of South Africa’s Kaizer Chiefs in the African Champions League final.
The Reds have reached the final of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League after defeating Tunisia’s Esperance in the semifinal 4-0 in aggregate, while the Chiefs won against Morocco’s Wydad Athletic 1-0 after home and away games.
“The most important thing in the final against Kaizer Chiefs is for the team to be balanced in proportion to the opponent's strengths and weaknesses. We have to focus on the game and play in harmony,” Mosimane told the South African Football Journalists’ Association (SAFJA).
Mosimane has faced the Chiefs several times in the local South African competitions when he was coaching Mamelodi Sundowns, where he stayed nearly eight years.
“Against Kaizer Chiefs, I’ll be facing the team that I supported when I was young, but now it’s related to me and my family and my team, this what matters the most now. Ahly needs the tenth Champions League title, and this what I’m working on,” he added.
The 56-year-old coach has won the Champions League two times, and the latest title was with Ahly last year.
Regarding the challenges his team will be facing in the upcoming period, he said, “The Chiefs are good at playing the set pieces, as their players are physically big and know well how to play with their heads, which we have to take into consideration, in addition to their high ability to play away games.”
“It’s also important not to criticise your players when they’re having bad days, I’ve tested this before, but in the following occasions they played really good matches. The coach should not forget the good days [for the players].
“It's important to remember as coaches that we need the players. I have to maintain a good relationship with the players because they are important,” he explained.
One of Ahly’s obstacles to keep fighting for the Egyptian Premier League title is that they have many key players who will participate in the Tokyo Olympic Games directly after the CAF Champions League final.
“The departure of Ahly players immediately after the Champions League final to participate in the Tokyo Olympics is difficult, because I have players in my team who don’t want to be injured before the Olympics. I had to make sure they were in the Champions League final as well as in Tokyo 2020, it's good for both sides,” said Mosimane.
Ahly are scheduled to face Kaizer Chiefs in the final of the CAF Champions League in 17 July at Stade Mohammed V in Morocco, as Ahly seek their second title in a row and the tenth star on their jersey, while the South African side will be searching for their first-ever continental title.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)