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Ahly coach Mosimane recommends Gomes for Ikhamanga award before Caf final

Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane. File image
Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane. File image
Image: Ladjal Jafaar/BackpagePix

 Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane appears to have turned on the flattery for SA referee Victor Gomes who will blow Monday night’s Caf Champions League final between the Egyptian giants and Wydad Athletic.

Mosimane will renew the two-storied love-hate relationships in the final at Wydad’s home ground, the 45,000-seat Stade Mohamed V in Casablanca, Morocco.

One is against his nemesis team in the Champions League, Wydad. The other is with a referee who used to be Mosimane’s nemesis when he was coach of Mamelodi Sundowns in the Premier Soccer League, but who the Ahly coach has since formed a closer relationship with. Mosimane now regularly professes his admiration for the development in Gomes’ officiating standards.

This week, Mosimane was waxing lyrical about Gomes again, turning on the flattery before Monday’s final.

“How I used to criticise Victor Gomes — ate my humble pie long time back and I am his biggest fan and he knows that,” Mosimane tweeted.

“I give him the respect he deserves and he is currently the No 1 referee on the continent.

“Just finished watching [the Champions League semifinal between] Wydad vs Petro Atletico Luanda. The manner in which he managed the game, players and the dugouts. Just like he managed Senegal vs Egypt.

“Can we give him the [the Order of] Ikhamanga? Please include Zakhele Siwela.”

Gomes and assistant referee Siwela officiated in the Africa Cup of Nations final, where Senegal beat Egypt on penalties in Yaounde, Cameroon, in February. Gomes received plaudits and went viral globally for his handling of a flashpoint moment with Egypt’s striker Mohamed Salah where the referee offered the Liverpool star his whistle.

Wydad were Mosimane’s nemesis when, as coach of Sundowns, the Moroccan giants regularly thwarted Mosimane’s attempts to add to his 2016 Champions League title with the Brazilians. Mosimane appeared to shake his hoodoo when Ahly dismantled Wydad 5-1 on aggregate in the 2019-2020 Champions League semifinals.

Mosimane’s relationship with Wydad is also love-hate as the fans of the club once cheered the name of the then-Sundowns coach on-field at Stade Mohamed V after a 0-0 Champions League group stage draw in December 2019.

Mosimane is seeking to become the first coach to win three Champions League titles in succession in Monday’s final.


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