Former Mamelodi Sundowns head coach, Pitso Mosimane, joined Egyptian side Al Ahly in September of 2020 and guided them to the CAF Champions League title by the end of November, beating Egyptian arch-rivals, Zamalek SC. The highly rated South African manager took the reins at Africa’s most successful club and hasn’t looked back since. Now he is set to take on Bayern Munich, in his biggest match to date.
On Thursday the 4th of February, Mosimane’s chargers faced Qatari champions Al-Duhail in the FIFA Club World Cup quarter-final. The African champions showed their class in an impressive 1-0 win at the Education City Stadium in Qatar, with Egyptian midfielder Hussein El Shahat scoring the winner. After the match, Mosimane addressed the issue of his side being overwhelming underdogs going into the semi-final, “Just about everybody expects Bayern to win and many pundits are saying the only outstanding issue is the winning margin.” The “African Pep Guardiola”, as Mosimane is known, also knows that his side are going into the tie with no pressure on them, “all the pressure is on the European champions and there is none on us,” he said, “we must enter the field, play with a smile, do our best and hope for a sensational outcome.”
Few people are giving the African side a chance in the game, but Mosimane takes comfort in knowing that in recent history, smaller teams have dismissed critics and pundits by beating remarkable odds. “Football can be a very funny game sometimes,” he started, “Remember what Leicester City did in the English Premier League a few seasons ago?” The enthusiastic South African is hoping his side can emulate the English club who defied every odd to win the English top division in 2016.
Al Ahly go into the semi-final clash on the back of a 32-game unbeaten run, but face a Bayern side that boasts multiple Champions League and FIFA World Cup winners, including one of the world’s most in-form strikers, Robert Lewandowski. The crucial fixture takes place at the Al Rayyan Stadium tonight and it promises to be a blockbuster of a match.