By Eddie Chikamhi
Pitso Mosimane’s trailblazing move, to take charge of the continent’s biggest and most successful club, has been hailed as a pivotal moment in the history of black African football coaches.
The 56-year-old is the first African, outside Egyptian nationals, to be handed the responsibility of guiding Al Ahly, who were crowned Africa’s Club of the Century.
He is the first black coach to guide this prestigious African football powerhouse in what represents a massive vote of confidence in the qualities of coaches from the sub-Saharan part of the continent.
Apart from being guided by Egyptians, Al Ahly have only been led by coaches from England, Hungary, the former state of Yugoslavia, Hungary, Germany, Portugal, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, France, Uruguay and Switzerland.
Mosimane, who guided Mamelodi Sundowns to a 5-0 thrashing of the Egyptian giants in a quarter-final match last year, will now change all that.
That massacre in South Africa was the heaviest defeat suffered by Al Ahly in about 80 years.
“The contract with Mr Pitso Mosimane, South African head coach of the first team, is effective as of tomorrow, Friday 2 October 2020, for a period of two seasons,” the club statement read.
“He will be joined with his assistants, which includes a general coach, a physical trainer and a performance analyst.
“Also joining is Belgian Michel Yancon as goalkeeping coach, who has been retained, and Sayed Abdel Hafeez as director of football.”
Mosimane will earn about US$120 000 a month.
When winning, and other bonuses are factored in, the coach could earn as much as US$270 000 a month.
He signed a four-year contract at Sundowns in May this year but, after helping them to overhaul a 13-point deficit to edge Kaizer Chiefs in the championship race, he quit this week.
Local football agent, Gibson Mahachi, who has facilitated moves for gaffers, Callisto Pasuwa and Norman Mapeza, to join foreign clubs, said Mosimane had taken the game to another level.
He is the first South African to coach in Egypt and will be shouldering big responsibilities on arrival at Al Ahly.
“I think this is a very good move. As a coach, you need to keep growing and for you to grow you need to face new challenges time and again,’’ said Mahachi.
“Pitso has proved himself in the Supa Diski and I think he had that realisation that if you want to grow you don’t have to shy away from new challenges.
“You cannot sit and remain in the comfort zone.
“There are so many coaches in Egypt, and even in Europe, which Al Ahly could have easily approached. But, what attracted them to Pitso?
“Obviously, it’s his success story.
“Your achievements will carry you through. Besides the qualifications, it’s important how you conduct yourself. That’s what builds a good coach.’’
Mahachi said perceptions about black African coaches were now changing, thanks to the achievements by the likes of Mosimane, and it can benefit others in the long run.
“The beauty about football is that it knows no boundaries,’’ said Mahachi. “It is up to the individuals to build their characters and to maintain principle.
“I believe we have got some very good coaches but they should be able to build their own brands and profiles that distinguish them from others.
“It’s the same way Norman Mapeza is different from Callisto Pasuwa or Lloyd Chitembwe.’’
Another local football agent, George Deda, says the bold step taken by Mosimane was a game-changer and a sign of the changing face of football on the continent.
He believes former Warriors coach, Pasuwa, should have taken the initiative to join Tanzanian giants Simba
SC when they came knocking on his door. Pasuwa had just won four league titles with Dynamos and also led the Warriors to the 2017 AFCON finals.
The Tanzanians dangled a lucrative package, by Zimbabwean standards, which included a US$20 000 monthly salary.
It might not match Mosimane’s Al Ahly’s monthly earnings but it could have provided Pasuwa with a major breakthrough in his career.
The East African football market has been growing in leaps and bounds, in recent years and, success in that part of the continent, could have opened doors for Pasuwa.
Deda said Mosimane, just like Pasuwa, had outgrown the domestic league and needed to explore bigger challenges.
“In South Africa, anything outside Sundowns or Bafana Bafana, is not good enough for Pitso,’’ said Deda.
“He has outgrown most of these clubs. What now remains to be seen is whether he will succeed in this new environment because systems are different. “I believe it’s not going to be a stroll in the park but it’s worth it.’’
Mosimane had proved himself in South Africa where he won the league five times, the Nedbank Cup, Telkom Cup, CAF Champions League and the CAF Super Cup.
Deda said Pasuwa also needed to take a similar route when he was approached by 21-time Tanzanian champions Simba SC in 2016.
However, Pasuwa ended up settling for Nyasa Big Bullest in Malawi.
“This is almost the same situation that Pasuwa found himself in. He needed something more challenging,’’ said Deda.
“I personally brought the guys from Simba to talk to him to move to Tanzania. Simba are one of the giants who compete in CAF competitions almost every year. These guys were also offering good money but, for some reason, he couldn’t take up the challenge. The Herald