Friday Jul 09, 2021. 11:00
Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane has emphasised that he will not fall into the trap of underestimating their CAF Champions League final opponents, Kaizer Chiefs.
Ahly, the reigning and nine-time continental champions, are heavy favourites for next weekend’s CAFCL final, set to held at the Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca.
The South Africans will be appearing in their first Champions League final and will have been inactive for three weeks since narrowly overcoming Wydad Casablanca in the semifinals.
However, Mosimane has pointed out the aspects of the Amakhosi’s play that will make them dangerous opponents.
“The rigidness of the midfield‚ the hard working of Bernard Parker‚ the element of Samir Nurković and Leonardo Castro; and Erick Mathoho‚ [their] set pieces‚” Mosimane told the SA Football Journalists’ Association, as quoted by Times Live.
“The rigidness of not giving much away. [That they] don’t care if they have the ball or not. They can suffer in a match – no problem.
“They suffered in Morocco‚ they survived. They suffered – they got four – against Wydad in the neutral venue in the group stages‚ they survived. They got three at Simba‚ they survived.
“So there’s tenacity. We have to give respect to that. Those guys really are soldiers‚ they are survivors.
“They get out of trouble like you would never have thought they would get out of trouble. That makes them special.
“And also‚ I think [caretaker coach] Arthur Zwane wanted to give it a go and we should give him respect for that – he has done exceptionally well.
“And you know how Stuart [Baxter‚ Chiefs’ new head coach] plays his game also – it suits what they have there.
“And probably it suited Gavin [Hunt‚ Chiefs’ ex-coach] in the Champions League‚ and maybe not in the DStv Premiership.”
Mosimane again emphasised the threat of Chiefs’ set pieces and Nurkovic’s ability to grab a goal out of nothing.
He added, “And I can tell you‚ you must never underestimate it – there’s a goal at Chiefs on set pieces.
“And Nurkovic can always sneak one even if it’s not a set piece. So we’ve got to respect [Chiefs].”
The CAFCL final in Casablanca will kick-off at 21:00 CAT on Saturday 17 July 2021.