Their impressive defensive prowess en route to reaching their maiden Champions League final notwithstanding, Kaizer Chiefs are going to fetch the ball from inside their net on Saturday according to Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane.
JOHANNESBURG – Their impressive defensive prowess en route to reaching their maiden Champions League final notwithstanding, Kaizer Chiefs are going to fetch the ball from inside their net on Saturday according to Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane.
Amakhosi take on Al Ahly in the continental showpiece in Casablanca buoyed by their ability to keep clean sheets (11 in 14 matches), following some tremendous showings by their three goalkeepers – Itumeleng Khune, Bruce Bvuma and Daniel Akpeyi.
But as he anticipated the clash at Stade Mohamed V, Al Ahly coach Mosimane spoke confidently about the fact that his reigning champions would find the opposition net.
“My teams always score,” Mosimane said.
“There’s always a goal at Al Ahly. We can score. And we score even when (you think) there’s no goal.
You saw the two goals we scored against (Mamelodi) Sundowns (in the quarter-final). Where they came from, you never know.”
Al Ahly beat Mosimane’s former team 2-0 and drew 1-1 in the homeand-away tie to set up a clash with Esperance in the semi-finals – the
Red Devils having scored in all but one of their eight matches before the knockout stages.
While he doesn’t mind that his teams can fashion a goal out of nothing, Mosimane takes delight in well-worked goals.
“We got some beautiful goals against Esperance. We played the way I want the team to play – my philosophy, the Sundowns way. But I don’t have a (Gaston) Sirino or a Themba Zwane (the skilful players he coached at Sundowns) here, so we do what we’ve got to do,” he said.
Confident his team will score, Mosimane admits that Amakhosi have goals in them too.
“Don’t underestimate Chiefs, hey. There’s a goal there. (Samir) Nurkovic can always sneak one in. He can always score,” Mosimane said.
Does this point to a final full of goals?
The Egyptians certainly believe so, with word from Cairo being that they are anticipating the equivalent of a Sunday park stroll for Al Ahly’s 10th Champions League title.
Reference is being made to the 4-1 Caf Super Cup victory over Chiefs in 2002 as Al Ahly fans anticipate Saturday’s clash.
Mosimane, though, is not taking that kind of talk too much to heart, eager as he is to deliver a successive Champions League title for his employers.
A veteran of Champions League football, Mosimane – who is on the verge of a third title, having won with Sundowns and Ahly – is qualified to venture views about what it takes to succeed in the continent’s premier club knockout competition.
“The Champions League is a different kettle of fish – it is played with extensive experience.
“It is not how good you are and not how good you pass the ball.
The Champions League is way too complex (a competition) … you need a lot of experience to win it,” Mosimane said.
And Al Ahly have experienced aplenty compared to their rivals, who are making their debut at this grandest of African club football stages.
Not that it gives Mosimane too much confidence, far from it, for he acknowledges that the opposition could prove dangerous.
“Chiefs have the players for Champions League football, that’s why they are in the final.
“They are strong on set-pieces because of the big boys – (Eric) Mathoho, (Leonardo) Castro, Nurkovic – they have.
“They scored more headers in the normal game from crosses and corners. Nurkovic will always score with his head if the delivery is good,” Mosimane said.
And with his Al Ahly sure to score, Saturday’s final could well produce a goal-fest.