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Why the Pitso Mosimane conversation is so important

10:56 PM MYT 19/01/2022
Pitso Mosimane, coach of Al Ahly holds trophy
A subsequent article by the New York Times has brought into international focus an apparent bias towards western European football

Despite his phenomenal success with Al Ahly, including two Caf Champions, former Mamelodi Sundowns and Bafana Bafana head coach Pitso Mosimane was overlooked by Fifa for its men’s coach of the year award.

The coaches that were nominated instead by Fifa for the shortlist were Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel, who won the award, as well as Manchester City's Pep Guardiola, Italy manager Roberto Mancini, Antonio Conte (Inter Milan, now at Spurs), Hansi Flick (Bayern Munich), Lionel Sebastian Scaloni (Argentina) and Diego Simeone of Atletico Madrid.

In today's world, the power of the internet is amazing, and not always fully understood. In many instances, it's used for bad, for the spreading of fake news and propaganda for example.

But it can also do good, and perhaps that's what could come from the recently published New York Times article which highlighted the injustices which still exist in world football - in particular, the bias towards western Europe.

Ultimately, because of the money, the big leagues in Europe are where most of the best players in world football end up, and where the best managers go to coach. That does not mean however that Fifa should overlook coaches and players from other continents.

Certainly the New York Times article has already had a significant reach, especially once it got onto Twitter, and just maybe with enough groundswell, it will give some football club owners pause for thought and might further down the line open doors for the former Bafana Bafana coach.

It’s thanks to Mosimane’s incredible achievements, that such a discussion is on the table, and it would hopefully have made for an uncomfortable truth for a Fifa - which tries to see itself as politically correct - in that a strong bias towards Western Europe prevails.

According to the article, Mosimane has just about given up on coaching in Europe, where the number of black coaches are minuscule.

But why shouldn’t Pitso have the chance one day to test himself against a Guardiola, a Conte or a Simeone or perhaps even a Jose Mourinho on a regular basis?

European clubs have over the past decade increasingly looked to players born in Africa or of African decent, and now often depend heavily on those players.

In a world where racism and inequality are being increasingly challenged, it's surely time that more black coaches are given opportunities in the football world too. For all the campaigns, including those run by Fifa, inequality remains.

Now more than ever, it's time for black African coaches to be shown greater respect, and when Mosimane's time with Al Ahly comes to an end, he should be given the opportunity to coach abroad, be that in Europe, or perhaps even in the MLS in the United States, which could provide a stepping stone.

It's up to the clubs to show that the talk of ending discrimination is more than just lip service. Because if someone with Mosimane's incredible credentials is not given a chance, where does that leave black African coaches who might be very talented, but don't have his sort of once-in-a-generation CV?