Whatever is next for Pitso Mosimane, he should stay in Africa
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JOHANNESBURG WHAT next for Pitso Mosimane now that he has established himself as Africa’s most successful Champions League coach with that third title he won at the weekend?
A move to one of the leagues in Europe would be logical, some have suggested. That could well make sense. Imagine “Jingles” testing himself against the likes of Pep Guardiola, Thomas Tuchel, Jose Mourinho, Ronald Koeman and Mauricio Pochettino.
No doubt he aspires to be in that space.
The other day during a virtual press conference with members of the South African Football Journalists Association, he was waxing lyrical about his admiration of Arsenal legend Arsene Wenger.
At the post-match press conference after Al Ahly’s 3-0 demolition of Kaizer Chiefs in the Champions League final in Morocco on Saturday, which he masterminded, he called on African football bosses to stop rushing to Europe for coaches because the continent has capable men.
He has proven that much.
A job in one of Europe’s top leagues could well be on his radar, such is Mosimane’s ambitious nature.
For now, though, there’s the small matter of adding four more continental titles to his name for Mosimane to take top spot in Africa.
In leading Al Ahly to that victory on Saturday, the 56-year-old coach got one trophy closer to equalling the record of Manuel Jose’s four Champions League victories – the former Al Ahly boss is also the most decorated Caf coach overall with eight continental titles.
Mosimane is on five now, joint with Tunisia’s Faouzi Benzarti, having won the CAF Super Cup twice.
It is no coincidence that Mosimane is doing as well as he is on the continent. Such lofty standing in Africa has always been Mosimane’s dream, goal and objective. And he has been purposeful about it.
Like a body-builder who spends countless hours lifting weights, feeding on copious amounts of proteins and ensuring he gets good rest, Mosimane has painstakingly pursued the goal of being a top coach in Africa.
Irvin Khoza loves to tell the story of how a young Mosimane would spend his own money to travel the continent to watch matches just to empower himself.
The late Ted Dumitru admired Mosimane’s eagerness to learn about the game, although he felt the young coach would have been better served learning from the Brazilians, instead of the Europeans.
This was back when Mosimane was still at SuperSport United, yet to win a title and seen by most as just a former player making a living out of essentially the only thing he knows – football.
But even then, Mosimane had ambitions of being a continental giant and told yours truly in one interview about how he dreams to coach a national team – even if it were lowly Swaziland.
He achieved that goal with his country’s national team.
While his tenure as Bafana
Bafana coach did not yield much success and actually saw Mosimane sacked following the team’s failure to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, being fired essentially set him on fire.
For it was all glory thereafter, Mosimane joining a Mamelodi Sundowns outfit in the throes of relegation and then turning them into the dominant force on the
South African front and winning a record five Premiership titles with them.
The Champions League triumph of 2016 was the cherry on top and it was not surprising that Al Ahly came calling last season.
Sure, Europe could well be the way to go. First prize, though, would be for Mosimane to set a continental record that could possibly outlive him.