Harare – South African soccer coach Pitso Mosimane last weekend became the first African to lead a side to three CAF Champions League titles when Al Ahly of Egypt beat Kaizer Chiefs 3-0.
At the same time, Zimbabwean midfielder Willard Katsande – despite losing in the final played in Morocco – became the first foreign player to clock 326 games for Kaizer Chiefs.
For Mosimane it was a bittersweet moment as he grew up supporting Kaizer Chiefs.
Mosimane claimed the ultimate African club honours for the third time after previously winning the Champions League with Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa in 2016 and Al Ahly in 2020.
Only Portuguese gaffer Jose Manuel who won the same trophy with Al Ahly four times, has a better track record in the competition. But, for good measure, Mosimane has won the title with two different clubs.
After last week’s final, Mosimane said: “I feel conflicted (to have won) against a team from my country. I have my history with Chiefs. I supported them when I was young. My uncle (the late Gabriel Tikkie Khoza) played for Chiefs. I lived in the same street as Kaizer (Motaung, the Chiefs chairman) and used to stop him on the road when I was young.
“We really needed this trophy. I know the team from my country also wanted their first star, but we wanted it more than them. The tenth (star) is important. It is good for history, good for archives and how better to do it with three goals.”
“We deserve it. We’ve been scoring goals, in the semis and all the way from the start. Ahly deserved the chance to take this trophy.”
Meanwhile, veteran Katsande played his 326th game for Amakhosi on the night the Soweto giants were playing their first ever CAF Champions league final.
He has now played a game more than fellow Zimbabwean Tinashe Nengomasha, who left Chiefs about seven years ago and has since ventured into coaching.
Katsande said of the milestone, “This is something of a feel-good of course and it is always good to break records. I am extremely happy because this is a significant record.
“All along, I was envying my compatriot, Tinashe Nengomasha’s record and I never thought one day I would become the record holder for the most appearances by a foreigner at Chiefs. I believe I will add more appearances for the team and stretch the record even further.”
Katsande recently got a contract extension that will keep him at Amakhosi for another year, meaning he is sure to extend his appearances record.
On another note, the midfielder expressed concern over the ever-widening gulf between Southern African clubs and those from North Africa.
“We need to do more as clubs from Southern Africa. We played well against Al Ahly but we need to improve in several aspects of our game not just as Kaizer Chiefs but as clubs from this region.
“We have the potential and we actually matched the Egyptians but it is high time we do everything we can to try and improve our game.”