Pitso Mosimane takes veiled swipe at Rhulani Mokwena after CAF Champions League win

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New Al Ahly head coach Pitso Mosimane.
New Al Ahly head coach Pitso Mosimane.
Al Ahly

Pitso Mosimane took a veiled swipe at Mamelodi Sundowns co-head coach Rhulani Mokwena after his Al Ahly side recorded a first-leg 2-0 win in the CAF Champions League quarter-finals on Saturday.

READ | FT | CAF Champions League: Al Ahly 2-0 Mamelodi Sundowns

Goals by Taher Mohamed and Salah Shalabi handed the Egyptain Red Devils an important two-goal first-leg advantage ahead of a return leg in South Africa.

Speaking after the final whistle, a riled-up Mosimane took a veiled swipe at Mokwena in his post-match press conference.

Mosimane responded to what he felt were disrespectful comments in mid-week by his former assistant in the build-up to the match.

"There has been a lot spoken about me the whole week and I kept quiet," Mosimane said. "I had to focus here because I had a big game.

"Sometimes us coaches can get excited and try to dismantle the opponents and I could see that my players were dismantled by the coaches of Sundowns so I didn't need to do that because I have big respect for Sundowns.

"There was a report that Sundowns does not need to have sleepless nights about Al-Ahly. Well, I had sleepless nights about Sundowns because I’ve worn the jersey and given my heart and soul for the club and I watched seven games of Sundowns and kept quiet and focused.

"God helped us with the result. This tie still has a heartbeat and Sundowns can turn around this thing. I have big respect for the players and the supporters of Sundowns."

Mosimane added that his side - who hold a healthy two-goal advantage - won't be resting on their laurels in the return leg.

"When you win, you need to be humble," Mosimane added. "I have been at Sundowns for so long and I have much respect for them.

"They helped me be here and I also helped them.

"I believe that we will go to South Africa and get a great result, but of course it will be difficult. Of course we want to keep a clean sheet but we need to score."

ALSO READ | Advantage Pitso! - Al Ahly beat Sundowns in CAF Champions League clash in Cairo

Mosimane was alluding to previous comments made by Sundowns head coach Rhulani Mokwena where he gave a detailed breakdown to the media of Al Ahly's strengths.

"It is clear to see that maybe opposed to the profile of some of the teams that we play in the PSL, they average about 14 crosses into the box over 90 minutes per match, so very dominant in their wing-play," Mokwena had said.

"They are also very aggressive on the sides and with their key player Mohamed Sherif, who at this moment in time is over-performing his EG (expected goals). He is their top goalscorer with 12 goals but with an EG of about 10."

Mokwena had also confidently said before the two sides were drawn against each other that Al Ahly would want to avoid Sundowns just as much as Sundowns would want to avoid them.

"Coach Pitso is right‚ who wants to play the defending champions except Mamelodi Sundowns?" Mokwena said.

"We welcome that because that's the competition. Once you get to the last eight and to the last four‚ you get to play anybody and you get to play against the best teams.

"But if coach Pitso is really honest‚ I don't think he wants to play against Sundowns."

The two sides will again lock horns in a week's time in what could prove to be a volatile second-leg at the Lucas Moripe Stadium next week Saturday.
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