Written by Lwando Mhobo
As the dust settles on Kaizer Chiefs’ journey in the 2021 CAF Champions League following a 3-0 drubbing in the final to defending champions Al Ahly, the loss will be a bitter pill to swallow for the debutant finalists.
In a difficult first half in which Kaizer Chiefs were able to restrict the defending champions,the sending off of Happy Mashiane on the stroke of half-time turned the game on its head. The experience & sheer quality of Al Ahly shone through the entire 2nd half against a dispirited 10-men Kaizer Chiefs as Al Ahly grabbed the game by the scruff of its neck and took the lead within 8 minutes of the restart through their talisman Mohamed Sherif. Further goals from Mohamed Afsha & Amr El Solia put the game to bed and ensured that Al Ahly clinched their 10th Champions League title.
Although the South African side lost,it was South Africans who were the biggest winners on the night as Pitso Mosimane became the first African coach to win 3 CAF trophies. He is the only African coach to achieve this feat and is one CAF Champions League trophy away to eclipsing Portuguese Manuel Jose,who has 3.
If there was any doubt,which there shouldn’t,this feat rubber-stamps Pitso Mosimane’s as one of the best coaches in Africa.
For Kaizer Chiefs,they should lick their wounds & pat themselves on the back as they reached a final of a continental cup competition for the first time in 20 years,in what was a difficult season.
For South Africans,Pitso Mosimane’s meteoric rise coincides with South Africa’s progress during the last decade in the continental cup competition with Mamelodi Sundowns,Orlando Pirates and now Kaizer Chiefs all making the final in the last 8 years.
Kaizer Chief’s loss means a spot for Amazulu FC managed by South African Benni McCarthy and in his defiant post-match interview,possibly a dig at South African teams and African national teams at large,Pitso urged Africans to “trust in their own”. Now,could Patrice Motsepe’s appointment as CAF president be the lucky charm for South African teams in the CAF Champions League in the next years? Only time will tell.
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