Although gutted after failing to attain African football immortality in Morocco on Monday, Pitso Mosimane was still in high spirits during a whirlwind three days of press conferences in the country.
The Al Ahly coach, fresh from seeing his team dethroned as African club champions following a 2-0 CAF Champions League final defeat by Wydad Casablanca, did not hide his disappointment.
He spoke openly about how ‘I don’t play for silver’ and his anger at CAF for contriving to deny him the chance of becoming the first coach to win the continent’s premier club knockout competition a record three successive times.
“I don’t condone what happened with one of my players throwing down the medal, said Mosimane.
“But two wrongs don’t make a right. Why put the game there? My players are angry. Why are we playing here? The dice is loaded against us? I am not saying you should not do that but I must know the reasons why you did that.
“Personally, I don’t believe in silver medals. I don’t keep them. To tell my son that I came in second place? I want them to see that I was first. My kids can find that out on the Google, it is there for history. But I only believe in winning gold medals.”
Mosimane also spoke about demands of being a Ahly coach.
“They are different. Al Ahly wants to win every match. Jurgen Klopp (the Liverpool coach) has just had his contract extended but he has won just one league title and one Champions League in five years. He is a Liverpool legend. Pep (Guardiola) has not won the Champions League at (Manchester) City but he is a legend.
“The mentality in Egypt is different, that’s how they are, that’s what they believe hence there’s no coach who lasts there. It’s not just Ahly, even Zamalek, there’s a coach every six months, every year. Can you believe I am just 18 months there, but I am the second coach to last this long at Ahly in their 104-year history?”
The former Sundowns coach still has a chance to salvage the club’s pride in the league race which he lost to Zamaleka last year.
“Yes, I’ve not yet won the league in Egypt. We lost it last year in the last game and it was sad. But we have a chance to win it now.
“If you look at the log, we are always four or five games behind (the other teams) because we play Champions League and the Club World Cup. But this time we can catch up and take the lead if we win our three games in hand. Pyramids are in front (top of the table) and they are not faltering but I’d like to win it. Zamalek are not at their best this time like they were last season so there’s a chance we can win it. It is my goal.”
Having played, beaten and lost to Moroccan teams, Mosimane believes South Africa is still miles behind the North Africans. Pirates lost to RS Berkane in the final of the CAF Confederation Cup and Bafana Bafana are facing the Atlas Lions in the Afcon qualifier next week.
Said Mosimane: “The difference between South Africa and Morocco is big. Morocco have been aggressive in their development, and I have no doubt they will dominate African football soon. They have the biggest vision on the continent, and they take their football very seriously.
“South Africa is 20 years behind. Here at home, we are big on doing talk shows and everyone sounds clever calling in saying ‘we have the infrastructure and all that’. But football is played in the township where we have no facilities. And we need government support, Safa can’t do it alone.
“We need pitches where kids can play. Let’s build them artificial pitches like they do in Europe and Brazil where the grounds are all over the place. But we also need coaches in those facilities. You can’t just have a facility and send the kids to go play without proper guidance. So there needs to be a vision to develop the coaches.”