In a rare moment, Pitso Mosimane sat next to Safa president Danny Jordaan during the handover of his CAF Pro coaching licence at Safa House this week.
The former Al Ahly coach, who acquired his qualification through the Royal Moroccan Football Federation, was fêted by Safa at its headquarters in Nasrec, Johannesburg, on Thursday.
“There were mixed memories, of course,” he said. “We ran a course here [many years ago] for about three weeks and I paid for it. I remember some of the coaches who were here, like Fadlu Davids, Lehlohonolo Seema and Maimane Phiri. I don’t remember all the others, but it will be interesting to see the picture of who was there.
“I remember being the [Bafana Bafana] coach here. Things didn’t go well. Unfortunately, our parting of ways [in 2012] wasn’t announced properly, but this house has done a lot for me too.
However, Mosimane also reflected on the positives: “Safa took me to [coaching] school and it gave me the chance to be in the Fifa Confederation Cup [in 2009] and the World Cup [in 2010] as the only South African on that Bafana bench. That was part of my growth and understanding of how international football’s played.”
Mosimane is the first South African to acquire the CAF Pro coaching licence qualification, which is the equivalent of the Uefa A licence. It entitles the decorated 58-year-old tactician to coach anywhere in the world.
The three-time CAF Champions League-winning coach shared some titbits of what he had learnt during the coaching course, which took three years to finish because of a delay caused by the Covid-19 lockdowns.
He said it had taught him a lot about football holistically.
“One of the modules we learnt was understanding a national team versus a club team. They trained us to be in that space, not just to win the game. It was the highest level of what we learnt,” he recalled.
“They gave us a presentation of how the national teams work. If you’re a national team coach, you learn how to play and train, etcetera. We also learnt how to deal with big clubs, for which we were given the organograms.
“[Coach Mikel] Arteta was one of the guys who was asked to present to us about the way Arsenal’s structured, what his role in it is and who does what. We were taught where the head coach of a national team belongs, and how to address issues like the media and sponsors.
“They also taught us how we needed to support sponsorship in the clubs, because that’s something coaches don’t understand. [For example], when players are supposed to do social responsibility [programmes], we coaches say they can’t do that because they’re tired. When we lose, we ask: ‘How can I coach when the players are everywhere [else]!?’ But the clubs also get paid by those sponsors.”
Mosimane added that the course had introduced him to youth football coaching.
“I’m doing my 101, learning how a three-year-old and a five-year-old should be coached – and I don’t think I’m the guy to do that,” he said.
Jordaan hailed Mosimane’s latest achievement as an important milestone in the history of South African football.
“The candidates were looked at not just in terms of their coaching, but also in terms of their achievements. All the others who’ve received the CAF Pro licence have either won a CAF Champions League, the Confederations Cup or other major competitions of CAF,” he said.
Mosimane is still without a club after parting ways with Al Ahly two months ago. However, he said he was weighing up his options for his next move.