Friday’s draw for the quarter-final stages of the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup has produced the tie that most football fans will be most excited about.

Defending champions Al Ahly of Egypt and their South African coach – Pitso Mosimane – will take on his former club Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa in the quarterfinals of the 2020-21 CAF Champions League.

Mosimane led Al Ahly to their ninth CAFCL title just weeks after taking over as head coach to emulate the feat he achieved with the South African champions Sundowns in 2016.

The tie is all set to be spectacular but both teams would have preferred to have faced each other in the latter stages of the tournament.

Holders Al Ahly against Mamelodi Sundowns is the highlight of the four quarter-final fixtures in this year’s Champions League as the two African giants meet for a third successive time at this stage of the competition.

There has been a lot of buzz on social media around the CAF Champions League and South Africans are slowly but surely warming to the African club competitions now with the success of the teams in recent times, especially, Kaizer Chiefs in their first continental tournament.

Mosimane spent eight years as head coach for the Sundowns and transformed the club from one with just plenty of wealth into a dominant force in African football.

Pitso Mosimane Al Ahly

Al Ahly Head Coach – Pitso Mosimane.
(Photo by KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Since then, Mamelodi have been regulars in the competition and created history in April 2019 when they crushed the Egyptian champions 5-0 in Pretoria.

This was the highest point of Mosimane’s reign as this was Al Ahly’s biggest defeat in around 80 years.

This elevated Mosimane’s status as one of the best coaches in African football.

However, it was still extremely surprising to see Al Ahly sign him up as their head coach in September 2020, after decades of employing coaches from Europe rather than other African countries.

Al Ahly gained revenge in the 2020 quarterfinals, however, with Mosimane in charge of the South Africans at the time. The club beat the Sundowns 3-1 on aggregate before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

In a strange case, by the time the rescheduled semifinals were played in October 2020, Pitso Mosimane had already moved to Cairo and led the Egyptian side to the title, after being only three games in charge of his new club.

His departure saw his assistants Mngqithi and Mokoena named as co-coaches at Sundowns and they have done extremely well in charge of the side by securing the top place in the group stage after just 4 group games had been played.

Mosimane will have the advantage of intimate knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of the Sundowns’ players since the squad has not changed much since his departure. However, there are massive amounts of pressure for the South African to win to save his reputation and face.

He just turned down an offer to return as national team coach of South Africa given the job left vacant after the sacking of Molefi Ntseki.

Here are the knockout draws for the CAF Champions League.

  • Al Ahly (Egypt) vs Mamelodi Sundowns (South Africa)
  • MC Alger (Algeria) vs Wydad Casablanca (Morocco)
  • CR Belouizdad (Algeria) vs ES Tunis (Tunisia)
  • Kaizer Chiefs (South Africa) vs Simba SC (Tanzania)

Here are the quarterfinal draws for the CAF Confederation Cup.

  • CS Sfaxien (Tunisia) vs JS Kabylie (Algeria)
  • Orlando Pirates (South Africa) vs Raja Casablanca (Morocco)
  • Pyramids (Egypt) vs Enyimba (Nigeria)
  • Coton Sport (Cameroon) vs Jaraaf (Senegal)