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Ex-Kaizer Chiefs winger Tshabalala: Why I am not surprised with Mosimane's success at Al Ahly

08:45 GMT 05/12/2020
Siphiwe Tshabalala and Pitso Mosimane during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between South Africa and Ethiopia at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on June 03, 2012
The former Amakhosi winger hailed the Al Ahly manager’s influence in his own career and reserved special praise for him

AmaZulu attacker Siphiwe Tshabalala has hailed his former manager Pitso Mosimane as “football-obsessed” and backed him to reach even greater heights in his decorated coaching career.

This is after the former Mamelodi Sundowns coach clinched his second Caf Champions League winners medal with Al Ahly last Friday.

Tshabalala previously showered Mosimane with praise after the former Bafana Bafana boss' tongue-lashing was influential in the 36-year-old midfielder's inclusion in the 2010 World Cup squad.

Mosimane's tenure as Bafana coach lasted only two years, but he went on to take over at Sundowns, where his trophy-laden period in charge saw him head-hunted by the African giants.

Speaking to Goal exclusively, Tshabalala spoke of some of the characteristics which make Mosimane so successful.

''I am not surprised to see what he has achieved and where he is now,'' Tshabalala told Goal.

''Coach Pitso is a hard worker, he is very dedicated and gives his all. He loves the beautiful game and puts a lot of effort into all he does. He wants to learn all the time.

''I don't know if it's the right word to use but he is so obsessed about the beautiful game."

Tshabalala also revealed another side of Mosimane who also has an interest in the well-being of all players. 

''He wants to help football players become better and bolster their careers. He is also into the player's well-being,'' added the midfielder. 

''He will call you on a Tuesday or Sunday and say come to my house, you get there, you will watch a football match and you will analyse that match.

''And he will give it to you straight [tell you the truth], if you didn't do well, he will criticize you. He's done that with me several times.

''We had many chats about my performances in the national team and Kaizer Chiefs. He is someone that I highly respect and I will forever be grateful to him for the role he played in my career and in the national team."

Then 25-years-old, Tshabalala became the toast of the 2010 World Cup with the opening goal against Mexico, but he had Mosimane to thank after some strong words from the then Bafana Bafana assistant coach helped him regain his "A game" following an unconvincing patch of form in the run-up to the tournament.

''In 2010 [World Cup] as well, he was very influential, not only speaking for me but for other players as well. He was the only local coach we had in that technical team who knew all the South African players. I'm just grateful

''And to show that he is a dreamer who sets goals and not an underachiever," added the former Kaizer Chiefs winger.

''When he achieves something, he sets another goal, and then, even if he missed the target, he sets another goal. I mean he just won a treble. Someone would just say okay, I have just won a treble, I've arrived, and I am the best coach in South Africa, now I can relax.

''After that great achievement, he felt, you know what, there is something even bigger than this, let me go for it, and that's bravery, self-belief and he set high standards as well

''He just won the Caf Champions League which is a victory for South Africa, and it makes me proud to be South African because it was achieved by a black South African in a foreign country.

''When people Google Pitso Mosimane it's going to show South Africa because he is from South Africa.

''Now people will have an interest in South African football because of Pitso Mosimane. People will have an interest in local coaches because of him [Mosimane].

''So, what he has achieved is not just his own personal gain but us a country, in all sectors. He has just put us as a country on the map because of his hard work''

Mosimane, who has enjoyed a near-flawless start to life in Egypt and has led the Red Devils to eight victories and one draw in his first nine games since replacing Rene Weiler, could win more silverware with Al Ahly set two play in two more cup finals.