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Mosimane: Why I took ‘risk’ of second-tier Saudi club, South Africans should follow me

21:33 SAST 2022/09/29
Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane during the CAF Champions League.
Pitso Mosimane says he had been in Africa for too long and that is why he took a risk in accepting a new job at Al Ahli Jeddah.
  • Mosimane accepted first coaching job outside Africa
  • This was after being the first South African to coach in North Africa
  • Urges South African coaches to take up challenges away from home

WHAT HAPPENED? Three months after leaving his post as coach of African giants Al Ahly, Mosimane found a new challenge elsewhere in Asia and is his first coaching job outside Africa. His new club Al Ahli Jeddah are playing in the Saudi second-tier and are fighting for promotion back to the top-flight league. Mosimane views such a scenario as a “risk” as he challenges South African coaches to consider such jobs in North Africa and Asia.

WHAT THEY SAID: "The guys [his backroom staff] looked at the league, we looked at the expectations, and it’s also making history for us and keeping our legacy in that space in the Middle East,” said Mosimane as per Times Live. “You can coach a team in the top-flight that, for example, sitting in 12th place and then you got to eighth place by the end of the season. So you are in the Pro League, but how much of a difference can you make from that?

“This one [Al Ahli] is a big club, it’s among the top four in Saudi. And the exciting thing, and also a bit of a risk, is you have to take this team back to the Pro League. We felt it would be wonderful to make history and give the people of Saudi an Al-Ahli that’s back in the Pro League.

“We made the proper selection on finding the right project. We had many criteria. One is breaking barriers, and two is to move out of the continent because we’ve been in Africa for long, And to be honest for my team, you ask what is it we want to win in club football in Africa? We have to get a different challenge.

“That’s why we felt Asia was a good place to test ourselves and see what’s there, and what contributions we could make.

“We [South Africans] need to move to other countries in Africa,” he added. “You can’t tell me we don’t have a coach in the PSL who can go to Tanzania where the football is so exciting. And if Europe is not easy to move into, we need to go to North Africa and that will give you a step into the Middle East and Asian football.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: South African coaches are slowly taking up jobs outside the country with the most prominent one being Benni McCarthy who is part of Erik ten Hag’s backroom staff at Manchester United. After returning from Egypt, Roger de Sa is Iran assistant coach while Fadlu Davids recently joined Josef Zinnbauer at Lokomotiv Moscow in Russia. Former Bafana Bafana star Bradley Carnell is with Major League Soccer side St Louis City SC.

STORY IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR MOSIMANE? Mosimane’s next task is to ensure promotion for Al Ahli. He inherited them placed seventh in the first division with four points fewer than log leaders Al Akhdoud after five games into the season.