Absa Premiership

Fitting to triumph in Egypt - Pitso

2016-10-24 22:15
Patrice Motsepe and Pitso Mosimane (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane said on Monday that there was no more fitting place to win the CAF Champions League than Egypt.

His team had become only the second South African club to lift the trophy the previous night with a 3-1 aggregate victory over Zamalek of Egypt in Alexandria.

Sundowns won the first leg of the final 3-0 in Pretoria last weekend and lost the return match 1-0 to a second-half goal from Stanley Ohawuchi.

Egypt have been the dominant country in the 53-year competition with Al Ahly, Zamalek and Ismaily winning 14 titles between them.

Success bridged a 21-year gap for South Africa in the premier African club competition after the 1995 success of Orlando Pirates.

"It does not get any better than coming to Egypt and being crowned African champions," said Mosimane, the first South Africa-born coach of a Champions League-winning team.

"There can be no disputing that we are the best club in Africa -- we really deserve to lift this trophy."

Sundowns took a unique path to Champions League glory having been eliminated in the final qualifying round last April after losing to Democratic Republic of Congo side V Club.

The Kinshasa club were later disqualified for fielding an ineligible player and reinstated Sundowns took full advantage.

Mosimane said repulsing the early wave of Zamalek attacks before a 60,000 crowd at the Borg El Arab Stadium was crucial to their success.

"I stressed to the players that if we do not concede a goal during the first 15 minutes, we should be okay."

Sundowns did have one early let-off as outstanding Nigerian Ohawuchi burst through and beat goalkeeper Dennis Onyango only to see his shot trickle wide.

The coach admitted that his team battled at times to cope with playing in front of such a large, partisan crowd.

He said Sundowns often took the wrong counterattack options, especially late in the first half when several scoring chances were squandered.

"Khama Billiat caused a lot of problems for Ali Gabr, but his decision making was not always good," said Mosimane.

Zamalek coach Moamen Soliman conceded that the best team were crowned champions of Africa, succeeding TP Mazembe of DR Congo.

"We can hold our heads high," he said of a club competing in their seventh Champions League final with five previous victories.

"Football does not always follow a logical course -- we had sufficient chances to overcome the deficit but luck was not on our side.

"The support we received in Alexandria was magnificent and our fans have every reason to be proud.

"I was touched when the Zamalek president (Mortada Mansour) came to the dressing room after the match and commended us," said Soliman.

Read more on:    mamelodi sundowns  |  pitso mosimane  |  soccer

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