“Yes I’m leaving but you have to understand that this team means a lot to me, it changed my career,” Mosimane said in a video posted on the official Ahly website on Wednesday.
The South African coach left after 20 months, during which he collected six titles including two consecutive African Champions League crowns.
He was on the verge of winning a record third straight title, but Ahly fell at the final hurdle, losing 2-0 to Moroccan Wydad in a hard-fought final in Casablanca.
Despite his success, Mosimane came under heavy criticism from local media and some ex-Ahly players, who believed the team had not made enough progress under his leadership, pointing to the loss of the Egyptian Premier League last season against rivals Zamalek.
“Normally when teams part ways with coaches it’s either the coach isn’t happy or the club aren’t happy, but I’ve never seen a special arrangement like this where we feel and respect to part ways,” Mosimane said.
“No one pushed me to go, I had all the respect of captain (club president) Bibo and his board, even the players.”
Mosimane paid tribute to President Mahmoud El-Khatib, known as Bibo, for believing in him.
He said El-Khatib, an icon of Egyptian football, understands the pressure of being in charge of such a club. He also said that El-Khatib never interfered with his work.
“He gave me the chance, he gave me advice when it was needed, I also gave him my feedback and what I see as a coach and what I see now and what I see for the future. So I had the support of the board, even the guys who are cleaning my office now, they are very, very sad,” Mosimane added.
“Do you think it’s very easy to leave a team like this? It’s very difficult. I was treated with respect and nobody owes me a penny. I never fought for the money . Which way to go? I’ll never know.”
Mosimane said the moment he enjoyed the most was when Ahly beat bitter foes Zamalek 2-1 in the African Champions League final in November 2020, dubbed the ‘derby of the century’.
The precious triumph came just under two months after he became the first non-Egyptian African to take charge of the Red Devils.
“There are a lot of games and special moments, they (the players) made me run to the corner flag and celebrate with the goals. These will be special moments for me,” Mosimane said.
“The biggest win that really got me racing, I know it meant a lot to me and meant a lot to Ahly’s history was the derby of the century. We couldn’t lose that game, it might never again happen in a lifetime, and it never happened before. Alhamdulelah, we won this game and it remains the highest level for me.
On Ahly’s future, the 57-year-old said he believes his successor will take the team to the next level and any manager would like to lead the team.
Sami Komsan, Mosimane’s assistant, has been appointed interim coach as Ahly searches for a foreign replacement for the former South Africa boss.
Asked what advice he would have for Komsan, Mosimane said: “I can’t advise him, maybe he has his own ways, maybe he always wanted to do things differently, because it’s his time and his space, so it’s very difficult for me to tell him to follow what I was doing. I can’t say that.
“He’s a good guy, motivated, he learns fast. He’s been with me when we’ve played Zamalek a couple of times, maybe five times. He knows what it takes to win, to play against a great team like Zamalek , play against Pyramids, but I have to respect it, and leave it because it’s not my space anymore.
“I hope the players give him respect to take the team forward. Why not, maybe it’s his chance and if he’s ready he can take it.”
On Tuesday, Mosimane’s agency issued a statement denying rumors that he had already agreed to take charge of a Qatari club.
The agency also revealed that Mosimane had been approached by several international and local teams, including national teams, but he had not yet signed any agreement.
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