Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane: ‘I’ve been in a whirlpool ever since I’ve been here’

Pitso Mosimane has explained that there was pressure on him to win from the start at Al Ahly, and says despite that he still was intent on imposing his own style of play at the Egyptian giants and newly-crowned Caf Champions League winners.

Mosimane said the fact that Al Ahly finished the 2020-21 Egyptian Premier League when he arrived in early October under predecessor Rene Weiler did not make life easier as the ex-Mamelodi Sundowns coach was under immense scrutiny in every step he made, and game he played.

Mosimane and his South African technical staff members he took to Ahly with him could not have asked for a better start than eight wins and a draw, including the 2-1 victory against bitter Cairo rivals Zamalek in Friday night’s Champions League final. And Al Ahly can still wrap up a treble if they beat El Gaish in the Egyptian Cup final on Saturday.

“I’ve been in a whirlpool ever since I’ve been here‚” Mosimane admitted in a digital press conference with the SA Football Journalists’ Association on Thursday morning.

“You could say that probably it was easier for me because the league was already won‚ and there were only five games left. But it’s not like that‚ because at this level‚ at this stage‚ results are very important.

“And you might say that the team was already in the semifinals of the Champions League. It was‚ but for me to get there‚ I had to win all the [league] games in-between the semifinals. And if you lose all those – you know the story.

“Those league games were pressure games for me because everybody wanted to see‚ ‘Can we trust this guy‚ who is this guy?

“The pressure is to continue winning. I had to start my own journey‚ and you start your journey by winning games and showing the difference and what it is that you are bringing in.

“So I changed the way we play‚ I changed the format‚ I changed the principles. I put my software. And to put your software you have to get rid of the software that’s inside.

“It’s like you’re cleaning the laptop‚ and putting a whole new system‚ and you have to tell the people how to apply that software‚ and teach them how to do it.

“So I took out what won the league‚ and everybody says‚ ‘Why are you changing now?’ I said‚ ‘No‚ because I need you to play differently‚ because the way you played to win the league I don’t think is the right way to win the Champions League’.

“I said‚ ‘Yes‚ you can win the league that way‚ because you have already won the league anyway. But Champions League is completely different. And we can’t go the same way as you guys have been going for the last seven years without winning the Champions League’.

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