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CAF Champions League

Is Mamelodi Sundowns' task harder after Mosimane's Al Ahly development?

3:48 am AEDT 12/3/22
Pitso Mosimane Al Ahly
Subsequent to Downs beating the Caf Champions League holders in North Africa, the Egyptians have handed their head coach a contract extension

Having battled to a famous victory over Al Ahly two weeks ago in Cairo, Mamelodi Sundowns' home game against Pitso Mosimane's charges is unlikely to be any easier.

The 57-year-old penned a new deal with the Red Devils earlier this week which will see him remain in charge until 2024, ending months of speculation over his future.

Weight off his shoulders

For all Mosimane's success with the Cairo side, at a club of Al Ahly's stature, nothing is ever set in stone, and while he was waiting to sign a new deal there had been uncertainty and speculation.

Prior to that, Ahly had been on a six-match winless streak just before and after the new year, and subsequently struggled with results in the Caf Champions League.

Losing a fortnight ago to Sundowns didn't help. But since then, the Egyptians have recorded three consecutive wins, including one over Al Merreikh in the Champions League, and now have themselves back on track for qualification to the quarter-finals.

Without the uncertainty hanging over him, Mosimane should be in a more relaxed mood and that should likely transcend to his players.

No crowd

Mosimane received a hostile reception from the Sundowns fans last time he returned to Tshwane, for the 1-1 draw against Masandawana in May 2021.

Even though there were no fans in the stadium that day due to Covid-19, a 'protest march' was organized and Mosimane suffered severe verbal abuse in the streets on the way to the ground.

He'll likely therefore be relieved that there are still no supporters attending games in South Africa, and with the match set for the FNB Stadium, it should be easier for Mosimane to get into the ground safely, unlike the more densely-packed streets around the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville.

Tau point to prove

Lastly, there is the Percy Tau factor. The Bafana international wasn't at his best two weeks ago in Cairo after having just returned from injury.

He'll be fired up to perform well on his return to South Africa.

Sundowns lead Group A with seven points, with Ahly, Al-Hilal FC (Omdurman) and Al Merreikh all on four points. The latter two sides have played a game more - Al-Hilal beat Al Merreikh 1-0 on Friday.