WATCH | Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane receives ovation from Wydad fans in Casablanca

Mamelodi Sundowns' players greet their fans during a Caf Champions League match in Morocco against Wydad.
Mamelodi Sundowns' players greet their fans during a Caf Champions League match in Morocco against Wydad.
Image: AFP

Pitso Mosimane’s status as one of Africa’s most respected coaches was never better illustrated than the standing ovation and chants of support he received from Wydad Casablanca fans following Saturday’s 0-0 Caf Champions League draw for Mamelodi Sundowns in Casablanca.

It is almost unheard of for home fans to chant the name of the opposition coach in any level of football anywhere around the world‚ but Mosimane’s deep respect for Wydad and willingness to bring a Sundowns side to attack their hosts in Casablanca has earned him a cult following in Morocco.

It is Mosimane’s fifth visit to Wydad in a little over two years and this time he came away with a point after four previous narrow defeats by a single goal.

Always gracious in his pre and post-match press conferences‚ Mosimane has always spoken of his admiration for Wydad as an opponent‚ one he has now met nine times since September 2017 with two wins and three draws to go with those four away defeats.

Wydad’s ultras responded to him on Saturday night‚ chanting his name as he went over to applaud them at the end of the stalemate.

The goalless draw suggests a dull game‚ but it was anything but as Sundowns sought to attack their hosts and probably should have come away with the win.

Wydad are now unbeaten in their last 23 home games in the Champions League and most sides come to Casablanca looking for a point‚ but Mosimane’s eagerness to get more has earned him the respect and affection of the home fans.

There was also a show of respect between Mosimane and the Wydad bench before the game as he greeted every player and even got a hug in return!

There is no doubt that the Champions League has been massive for Mosimane’s profile on the African continent‚ leading to him winning the Caf Coach of the Year award for 2016.

And it is also clear that South Africa has no greater footballing ambassador on the continent than their straight-talking‚ but much-loved Sundowns coach.