Pitso Mosimane calls on African football bosses to believe in their own, stop relying on European coaches
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CAPE TOWN - IN WINNING a third CAF Champions League title on Saturday night, Pitso Mosimane has made a very strong case for African coaches to be taken a little more seriously by the continent’s club and national teams.
And, typically, Jingles wasn’t just going to let the results speak for him and his fellow technicians. He voiced it out, pretty loudly at that.
Speaking during the virtual post-match media conference after his Al Ahly had demolished Kaizer Chiefs 3-0 in the CAF Champions League final in Casablanca, Morocco, Mosimane dedicated the trophy to the Red Devils chairman Mahmoud El Khatib and thanked him for the ‘trust in me and believed that I can change the fortunes of this club’ before challenging the other club bosses on the continent.
“Bibo could have gone to Europe and brought any of all these Europeans that are always coming to Africa to coach. But Africans can win it ourselves, why don’t we believe Africans can win? The (latest) Africa Cup of Nations was won by Algeria and they were coached by an Algerian (Djamel Belmadi). And that final was against a Senegal team coached by a Senegalese, Aliou Cisse. We sometimes give the Europeans too much respect and we forget who we are.”
He then gave examples of the African players who are starring on the big European stages as proof that the continent is just as good if not better than the so-called world’s best.
“Why are Sadio Mane and Mohammed Salah (the Senegalese and Egyptian stars of English Premiership club Liverpool) conquering the (UEFA) Champions League? (The problem is that) we just look for anybody from Europe and we give him the team (to coach). But we have the resources. Africa has the resources.”
The fact that he managed to win the CAF Champions League on two successive occasions proves it, he reasoned.
“I mean, the coach who was opposite from me (tonight) is from England,” he said in reference to Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter – a man who is on his second spell in charge of Amakhosi having also been given two opportunities to lead the South African senior national team despite having failed to lead BafanaBafana to the World Cup at the first attempt “The coach at Zamalek (Jaime Pacheco, whom he beat in last year’s final) is from Portugal, he worked with (Jose) Mourinho. But those things don’t matter in a match. So Africa should trust its own people. There’s so much we can do.”
Mosimane then lamented the clear bias towards everything Europe with regards to the accolades dished out by world football’s governing body FIFA.
“The awards for the FIFA Player of the Year, the Ballon d’Or and the Coach of the Year, we (Africans) don’t feature. It is only the Europeans who feature but we have won trophies. I’ve won about nine trophies but no one cares because I’m not a coach of Liverpool. But history stays.”
Set to go to his third FIFA Club World Cup tournament following Saturday night’s victory which sees him become Africa’s most successful coach in the Champions League – only Portugal’s Manuel Jose has won the competition more (four) – Mosimane hopes that Africa gets afforded some respect.
“Africa can stand up against CONMEBOL (the South American football confederation). We beat a team from CONMEBOL (Palmeiras) last year. And I think FIFA should look at this. Why should we play more games in that tournament because we beat a team from there? What’s the difference? We beat them and I think the playing fields should be level at this point in time.”
There can be no denying that Mosimane has certainly done his bit to ensure that the playing fields are leveled and that African football and coaches are given a semblance of respect.
And if his latest Champions League victory does not compel Africa’s football bosses to stop rushing to Europe and begin giving domestic coaches a chance, perhaps then nothing ever will.