The dust has not yet settled on Al Ahly’s triumphant win over city rivals Zamalek in the finals of the 2020 CAF Champions League, and South African coach Pitso Mosimane has not even started savoring his most seminal achievement in the history of African football.
But allow me to throw in the name of Ibrahim Sunday, one of the finest players, to come out of Ghana.
The ex-Black Stars star is fondly remembered as African footballer of the Year (1971), the second Ghanaian player to play in Germany (after CK Gyamfi), and the first Black man to debut in the Bundesliga.
However, his coaching credentials continue to be hidden from a lot of football fans my age.
First of all, Ibrahim Sunday, captained Kotoko to their first African Champions League, scoring the decisive penalty to hand them the crown.
He’s back again a decade later to coach Kotoko once again to their second Continental success in 1983.
Sunday’s coaching credential did not just end on the coast of Ghana. He ventured West — and just like he brought Kotoko back from the dead — to resuscitate Africa Sports d’Abidjan.
In 1992, he led the Ivorian side to the CAF Cup Winners Cup and completed the incredible by beating JSK Kabylie to the CAF Super Cup.
Today, Pitso has just laid his hands on his second Continental trophy with Al Ahly. It’s an incredible achievement looking at where the South African has had to come from.
Unlike the 1980s when North Africans welcomed and reveled in Black excellence both on and off the pitch, the sub-region has never been an accommodating ground for sub-Saharan African players let alone coaches.
Mosimane has broken the ceiling not just for himself for a number of sub-Saharan African coaches.
Every black coach can dream now. Every black coach down here should know they are good enough and strive harder to get to the top. It’s not enough to be a local champion. You can become a continental champion if you aim high.
Sunday Ibrahim did it with Kotoko and Africa Sports. Now, Pitso has done it with Sundowns and Al Ahly. And could go further by getting his hands on the Club World Cup. Now, that would be the highest definition of Black Excellence. Go for it.
Let’s stop the recycling of faded European coaches. We have the men. Just believe in your own!
Who will do it for us?
By: Anwar Sadat Larry