Johannesburg – South Africa’s revered coach Pitso M osimane t his w eek suffered his first defeat in 23 matches in charge of Egyptian giants Al Ahly, but found some consolation in the bronze medal around his neck at the end of the Fifa Club World Cup competition.
The stage had been set in the bruising semi-finals encounter in which Mosimane’s charges took on Germany’s football powerhouse Bayern Munich, but the Egyptians were annihilated 2-0, making them look ordinary in the process.
“It was a great opportunity for us to test our performance as the African champions against one of Europe’s biggest teams,” said Mosimane at the post-match press conference after the Bayern defeat. Al Ahly players were expected to struggle against Bayern, the European Champions League and Bundesliga champions, who are tactically far superior compared to the African Champions League holders.
A brace from reigning Fifa World Player of the Year Robert Lewandowski did the trick for the Uefa champions as they broke Mosimane’s 23-match unbeaten record since taking over in September last year.
“I am sad after today’s loss. It is normal to feel sad after missing the opportunity to play in the final. We were not afraid and put on a good performance, especially in defence.
“However, it is very hard to create goal-scoring chances against a big team like Bayern Munich,” he said after Al Ahly failed to make their first-ever Club World Cup final.
Despite the semi-finals loss, Mosimane is holding his head high and is on cloud nine because his team was not completely eliminated out of the tournament.
They finished third when they were stretched to a dramatic penalty shoot-out by Copa Libertadores champions Palmeiras, the Sao Paulo- based, Brazil, champions, to emerge 3-2 spot-kicks victors.
After his first-ever Fifa Club World Cup experience, Mosimane said he hopes to return to the tournament next year to push Al Ahly to do better than finishing third.
“I do not want to look arrogant, but we played very well in the competition.
“I am looking forward to better achievements with Al Ahly in the Club World Cup in the future,” he said. “We fought to win all the games and showed the strong personality of the African champions. I would like to thank our fans for their great support. I love them so much and I appreciate their great efforts and constant support since the beginning of the tournament,” said Mosimane.