Pitso Mosimane vs Kaizer Chiefs is an ’SA Derby’ that will make fans football proud
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JOHANNESBURG - The outcome of the match between Kaizer Chiefs and Al Ahly at the Stade Mohammed V in Casablanca on July 17 remains a mystery. But there's one guarantee: pride will engulf South African football.
It was an incredible weekend for South African football. Chiefs wrote their names in the history books as they reached the CAF Champions League final for the first time in their existence after defeating Wydad Casablanca 1-0 in their two-legged semi-final tie.
That victory ensured that they'll meet defending champions Al Ahly in the decider in Morocco in three weeks time. For the better part of the season, the Glamour Boys were criticised due to their turbulent form in their domestic campaign.
But they went quietly about their business in the continental showpiece as they broke records: reaching the group stage, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final for the first time.
That they a victory away from the African glory can offer them more redemption.
Chiefs are enduring a six-year trophy drought and there would be no better way to turn their fortunes around than claiming the biggest prize on the continent.
For some time now, Chiefs' seriousness about the continental competitions has been questioned, given that their last triumph dates back to 20 years ago when they won the Nelson Mandela Cup under coach Muhsin Ertugral. Arthur Zwane was still a player then.
Zwane has since hung up his boots and he's the first team interim coach, alongside Dillon Sheppard, as coach Stuart Baxter is still waiting for his work permit.
Zwane and Sheppard emerged as master tacticians, given how they plotted Wydad's fall in the semi-finals.
Chiefs were not the best team in either match. But they got the business done, nonetheless. Whether they'll still be the coaches when Chiefs face Al Ahly is still unknown. But there's a guarantee that there'll be a South African on the opposite dugout, barking instructions.
The Club of the Century is coached by Pitso Mosimane, who's deputy is a fellow South African, Cavin Johnson. Just like Chiefs, Mosimane has been subjected to criticism for his tactics and style of play during his first full season in the Egyptian capital.
But Mosimane has, thus far, shut up his detractors, proving that winning the last two African crowns – with Mamelodi Sundowns and Al Ahly late last year – was not a fluke. Mosimane is, after all, one of the most successful coaches on the continent with 16 trophies.
Despite having ticked all the boxes at Al Ahly since assuming his role last year October, Mosimane knows his job is not safe.
And that's why he'll know the significance of bringing La Decima – a record 10th African title – to the most successful club on the African continent.
But while the match will be won on the pitch and history created – by whichever side hoists the biggest prize in African football – South African football will prevail in the end.