CAPE TOWN – Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rhulani Mokwena believes all the pressure will be on holders AL Ahly when the two giants of African football meet in the CAF Champions League quarter-finals.
There is, of course, extra spice added to the tie with Al Alhly coach Pitso Mosimane returning to his former club, Sundowns, for the first time since joining the Egyptian Red Devils.
It has certainly created an unprecedented frenzy in local football circles with Mosimane regarded as football royalty in South Africa for what he achieved with the Brazilians.
Not only did Mosimane lead Sundowns to numerous league titles and Cup triumphs, but he also climbed Everest by guiding the Masandawana to their maiden CAF Champions League title in 2016.
“We knew the permutations from the beginning that we could have a trip to Algeria or Egypt. All the teams at this stage are quality teams and have quality coaches. Al Ahly are the same. They are the defending champions and they will have the pressure of getting into the semi-finals. For us, we consider it a very good draw against a very good side with a very good coach,” Mokwena said.
The 34-year-old Sundowns tactician certainly has the greatest admiration for Mosimane.
“We have a lot of respect for him, and me in particular, for the role he has played in my development as a coach. He is a leader and my mentor and I have learnt a lot from him. We are looking forward to the challenge,” Mokwena added.
Sundowns have had their lead at the top of the Dstv Premiership standings trimmed to just one point, but still have two games in hand on their closest rivals.
They have another stiff challenge on Saturday when they travel to Soweto to face fourth-placed Orlando Pirates.