Pitso Mosimane’s chances of extending his stay at Al Ahly as head coach have received a massive boost with the re-election of the club’s president, Mahmoud El Khatib, on Friday.
Khatib, who is popularly known as “Captain Bibo”, will continue at the helm of the Egyptian giants for the next four years.
Mosimane had a vested interest in the outcome of the polls because the election of the new board of directors comes at a time when the 57-year-old is in talks with the north Africa powerhouse over a new deal. His contract is set to expire at the end of this campaign.
In an exclusive interview with City Press via Zoom from Cairo on Friday, Mosimane said he could have been back home as Al Ahly were currently on a mini-break enforced by the Fifa Arab Cup. The tournament runs from November 30 to December 18.
But he decided to stay put. because “there were a few issues to attend to and there were also the elections taking place”.
“I was not part of the elections, but we were watching. Here [in Egypt], it’s like the elections of the country,” said a beaming Mosimane, who was this week awarded the Hollard Sports Industry Leadership in Business accolade.
The annual event celebrates different role players in the South African sports industry.
Asked if Khatib’s re-election was good news for him, Mosimane responded: “Yes, of course.”
He elaborated: “Look, we are in a good space.My business manager, my wife Moira [Tlhagale] is coming here and one of the things on the table willbe to deal with the contract issue because we are finishing [the initial contract] this year.
“So, Al Ahly should say we like this coach or not. You can’t wait until the end [of the season], because you know the kind of a coach you have. But it is also good for us because we have done a good job.
“The Gulf knows us. If nothing comes up, we’ll never stay without a job, but it would be nice to stay at the biggest club in the Middle East. You can move to other clubs and sometimes you can even get more money.
“So, it’s the brand and the history of the club that you actually coach. It’s also the thrill of winning at the big clubs.” He said:Sometimes I just don’t know where I will go [next] if I move from Al Ahly.
Mosimane, who took charge of Al Ahly just over a year ago, has guided the club to five trophies – two CAF Champions League titles, the CAF Super Cup, the Egyptian Premier League and the local cup.
“When Bibo came here, there had never been a Champions League title [for the club] and, thanks God, he finished [his first term] very well with five titles [that we have won so far]. We also went back to international competition at the Fifa Club World Cup, and we are going for the second time now.
“He spoke so well about me on TV , saying I deserve a new contract. The topic is public opinion.”
Mosimane also revealed that Khatib had given him carte blanche as Al Ahly head coach.
“When you are the head coach of Al Ahly, Captain Bibo knights you, he says: ‘You are the boss.’ And this means you are not the boss of the team sheet or the training session – you are the boss of the club.” He said:Back home, you know, sometimes you are not even the boss of the team sheet because you get told who to substitute, you know what I am trying to say?
“With Captain Bibo, he also tells me that ‘nobody speaks after you have spoken – the whole club’. So, it is that level [of responsibility] that you are given, but with humility, I don’t practise that.
“I’ve got a technical director, Sayed Abdelhafiz, and he’s the one who deals with all the things that I don’t want to deal with. He’s strong in disciplining the players. Sayed will fine a player [for any transgression].
“So, from where I come from to where I am is a bit different. Here, the president has donned the Al Ahly jersey [as a player] before. He wore number 10.
“The guy is a legend and he understands football. Meetings with him are very short and to the point. It’s: ‘How are you? How are things [going]? How do we support you?’”
Log leaders Al Ahly, who are five points clear of their rivals Zamalek after six games, will resume the league programme on December 21.