Pitso Mosimane’s big break to coach Al Ahly must be celebrated.
To put his appointment into perspective, “Jingles” has been tasked with guiding the continent’s most successful club when it comes to trophy count.
His arrival in Cairo this week also marks the first time the Red Devils have entrusted an African coach who is not Egyptian with steering Africa’s best club of the century.
There is just a good feeling about this move.
It comes at the right time for a coach who has achieved so much. It was time he stepped out of an environment that was slowly turning into a comfort zone.
Also, the fact that Mosimane had started dropping some hints about “some people within [Sundowns]” not being happy after he claimed his fifth – and the club’s 10th – Premiership title last month, meant it was time for him to move on.
Even by his own admission, Mosimane said he was ready to venture into the unknown and explore new challenges.
His 11-trophy haul since he took charge of Sundowns in 2012 should back his case as arguably one of the great managerial brains of the modern PSL era.
Yes, he did not achieve this success alone, but Mosimane and his strong technical team were turning the local Premiership into a one-team league.
The fact that Mosimane left for Ahly with fitness trainer Kabelo Rangoaga and performance analyst Musi Matlaba is an inspirational story on its own.
These are two specialists who Mosimane often credited for Sundowns’ success, and he had developed such trust with them that he recommended them to Ahly.
That Ahly acceded to Mosimane’s request to bring his own personnel is a positive sign.
But the path for Mosimane was long paved with the mutual relationship he enjoys with Ahly followers, born out of Sundowns’ regular adventures in the CAF Champions League.
Mosimane’s chance to work in Egypt also comes at a time when the Ahly starting line-up is probably still fresh in his head. This is a side, along with Morocco’s Wydad Athletic, that Mosimane has analysed many times.
Jingles is not the type of coach who refers to the opposition players by “the number on their jerseys”, but knows them by name, and analyses all of their strengths and weaknesses.
But I believe in the “madman” in him that will help him survive in Egypt.
See, Mosimane plied his trade in Greece and also had a stint in Qatar in the closing stages of his playing career.
This explains his obsession and will to win that can sometimes be overbearing for players.
But it is the madman in Mosimane that will help him to navigate the hostile environment that comes with Egypt’s most followed side Ahly, as well as get along with the club’s ultras.
His desire has always been to return to “Africa” – read CAF Champions League – to add to the title he earned with Sundowns in 2016.
The move to Ahly presents him with this opportunity.
The Champions League is regarded as the pinnacle of continental club football and this is his key mandate in Cairo.
Ahly believes Mosimane is the one to end their seven-year trophy drought in Africa’s premier club competition, which they last won when they beat Orlando Pirates in the 2013 final.
Champions League triumph comes with a golden ticket to the Fifa Club World Club, a competition Mosimane tasted with Sundowns four years ago.
We can only wish Mosimane all the best as he assumes the ambassadorial role not only for South Africa, but the southern African region at large.
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