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CAF's one-sided call could derail Pitso Mosimane's ride into African soccer history books

FILE - Al Ahly head coach Pitso Mosimane. Photo: BackpagePix

FILE - Al Ahly head coach Pitso Mosimane. Photo: BackpagePix

Published May 10, 2022


Cape Town — The Confederation of African Football (CAF) have raised the ire of Al Ahly head coach Pitso Mosimane after their announcement that the Champions League final would be played in Morocco later this month.

Mosimane fears that Morocco as a venue for the final will provide a distinct advantage for semi-finalists Wydad, who have one foot in the door after an emphatic 3-1 win in the first leg last weekend. The Moroccan champions Wydad will host the Angolan hopefuls Petro Atletico in the second leg in Morocco this weekend and will enjoy a 2-0 aggregate advantage.

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Moreover, playing at the Moroccan venue designated to host the final will serve as a dress rehearsal for Wydad. On Tuesday, the South African-born coach Mosimane made no bones about his feelings on social media after CAF decided the finale will be played in Morocco.

Mosimane is on the verge of African football history as he is poised to lead the club to a third successive Champions League title. The benchmark is two successive Champions League titles, and no coach has yet achieved three titles on the trot.

Over the weekend, Al Ahly, led by the “Lion of Judah” Percy Tau, roared a championship challenge with an overwhelming 4-0 victory over hapless ES Setif of Algeria. The under-fire SA-born Tau scored two goals and had a hand in the other two.

The irate Mosimane posted a terse note: “When the CAF Champions League group stages games were finished, rumours were saying SA is hosting. Hao, hijiki (suddenly), after the semi-final games were decided, there was a loud silence in the country to host the final. Then after the first leg of the semi-finals, suddenly Morocco is hosting.”

Mosimane's outburst follows a CAF announcement which read: “The 2022 CAF Champions League final will be hosted by Morocco on May 30. CAF received bids from Senegal and Morocco and, after the subsequent withdrawal of the Senegalese bid, Morocco has been awarded the hosting rights.”

The announcement was a slap in the face of Mosimane's club Al Ahly which recently appealed to CAF President Patrice Motsepe. Al Ahly have since released a copy of their letter to the media.

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In a statement, Al Ahly declared: “Al Ahly SC sent an official letter on Sunday to Mr Patrice Motsepe, the president of CAF, demanding a neutral venue for the 2022 CAF Champions League final.

“Al Ahly have officially requested a neutral venue for the CAF Champions League final to guarantee a fair competition.

“Al Ahly highlighted in the letter that the final should not be hosted by one of the countries of the four teams competing in the CAF Champions League semi-finals, and a neutral venue will provide equal chances for the four teams.

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“Al Ahly stressed that the game should be held in a neutral venue, since CAF did not choose the hosting country in an earlier stage, noting that giving one of the four teams the home advantage in the final contradicts the fair play standards.

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“Al Ahly expressed their full trust in CAF’s professionalism and fairness and their commitment to preserving equal rights for the four competing teams.”

Last season, the final was also played in Morocco at the Stade Mohammed V in Casablanca. Al Ahly defeated Kaizer Chiefs 3-0, and it assured Mosimane of back-to-back titles after he guided Al-Ahly to a 2-1 win over Zamalek in Cairo, a year earlier.


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