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Soccer 6

Rulani Pays Pitso Great Compliment

Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena has paid his predecessor, Pitso Mosimane, a great compliment with the two set for a reunion in Cairo.

Read: Downs Confirm Birth Of New Combination

The Brazilians are in Egypt and face powerhouse club Al Ahly, where Mosimane is now in charge, on Saturday night in the first leg of their CAF Champions League quarterfinals encounter – arguably the pick of the last eight draw.

Both sides are very much in line for yet another domestic title, though Downs are a lot close as they currently enjoy a seven-point lead at the top of the DStv Premiership with only four games to go, plus they have a game in hand.

Mosimane’s Ahly trail rivals Zamalek by four points in the Egyptian Premier League, but they do still have two catch-up matches and could overtake them if they win both.

That will be put aside briefly this weekend, and Mokwena, named Sundowns' co-coach alongside Manqoba Mngqithi shortly after Mosimane resigned, spoke glowingly of his mentor’s work since moving to Cairo in October last year.

“Al Ahly are a very good side, well coached and you can see there’s a lot of investment from the technical team. Of course we know the amount of work coach Pitso puts in behind the scenes and you can see because it is reflecting in the team,” Mokwena told the media.

“They have a clear identity, they look to start from the back and use their centre halves very well. They have a little more balance when they have (Ayman) Ashraf at left centre half as that allows for (Ali) Maaloul to do what he does, and it’s very difficult to find a left back, maybe even across the continent or globe, that averages about 80 ball contacts and involvements in relation to passes over 90 minutes. That’s what he does, he gives them so much more than defend.”

Read: Chiefs Tracking Ex-Downs Youth Graduate

But Downs have to put them under pressure, Mokwena said.  

“That is the profile of Al Ahly with full backs. It is clear to see that in the profile of the teams we have played in the PSL, they average about 14 crosses into the box over 90 minutes – per match. They are dominant and aggressive on wing play. It will be an interesting game and of course we’ve got the responsibility to come to Egypt and not just dominate the pitch and impose ourselves, but to be tactically astute in how go about our business,” explained the coach. 

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