Former Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane says walking to the Al Ahly dugout was “not a free passage” as he heaps praise on Downs for sprucing up his profile which led to recognition in North Africa.
After joining Al Ahly in September, Mosimane reportedly snubbed Wydad Casablanca, who were said to be interested in him.
He went to Al Ahly after helping Sundowns to 11 trophies in eight years and made them one of the most feared sides on the African continent.
“We call them Masandawana. We have a lot of history together, eight years, lots of trophies together, lots of songs, banners and flags,” Mosimane told Caf media.
“They are very special those ones. They really gave me an opportunity and I am here because of them. If it was not for Mamelodi Sundowns I wouldn’t be here. So I am thankful to the supporters, I’m thankful to the team and the president of the club Mamelodi Sundowns.”
Mosimane earned continental recognition when he guided Sundowns to the 2016 Caf Champions League title after beating Zamalek in the final to claim the Brazilians’ first-ever continental prize.
Sundowns had beaten Zamalek 2-1 away in the group stage that season before the two teams met again in the final.
Also thrashing Al Ahly 5-0 in a Champions League quarter-final match at home in the season 2018/19 made Mosimane a revered figure in North Africa.
Away victories in North Africa over teams like USM Alger, ES Setif, or drawing against Wydad Casablanca and Esperance further made Mosimane a feared tactician on the continent.
“They gave me the opportunity to be here but I worked hard for it, I have earned it. It was not a free passage,” said Mosimane.
“You would not be here of you do not defeat Zamalek in a Cup final. You would not be here if you do not beat Al Ahly 5-0 so I have also done my work to be here. I am humbled, I am happy to be Al Ahly coach. It is a special club, a big club.”
Expectations have heightened on Mosimane to help Al Ahly retain the Champions League title.