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Pitso Reveals What Went Wrong At Al Wahda

Pitso Mosimane says it was clear his technical team and Al Wahda’s hierarchy weren’t on the same page leading to their split, which he feels wasn’t about results.

Mosimane teamed up with the UAE Pro League side after leading Al Ahli Jeddah back to the Saudi Pro League but his stint lasted just four months.

It proved to be the shortest managerial post of his career, ending without any silverware with six wins and four defeats in 10 games, but still in the league cup and within the title race, five points off the league leaders after eight games.

“I must say the vision, as I always say, the project was good because it was a team that hasn’t won the league for 13 years and that’s been the challenge, that’s what brought me to the place,” Mosimane told Safja about why he joined the club.

“So there was an opportunity to win the league there at a big team. So we were all aligned in that vision – so that’s what made me go there. It’s a big team in Abu Dhabi, there’s other big teams in the UAE of course but it was something we were looking forward to.

“But you’re right [it was a short stint], I think inside the vision of looking to win a trophy we need to win the league may be, there are principles and alignment that should be short-term, mid-term and long-term plans.

“There must be a way to be aligned in knowing the short-term and mid-term plans, that within that space we should be able to say yes, this is the plan, this is achievable quickly and there’s no plan that’s perfect, even when you win a tournament, there are headaches.

“But once we’re inside the same vision, I think there was a lack of alignment from my thinking and what [Al Wahda] wants, in what the team has been doing for the last 13 years where they haven’t won the league.”

Al Wahda have been known to be one of the most trigger-happy clubs in the Gulf region, his successor Arno Buitenweg, was their 18th coaching change over the past decade.

“I realised we weren’t going in the right direction, not only with the vision – it’s not about if the coach is right or wrong because before we agreed, we sat down you know and I asked if you would fire me for winning or am I leaving you for winning,” he continued.

“So we don’t have a good answer, both of us, to say to the people, but really to be honest, it was obvious it wasn’t about results, we won the last two games in a row, and the team that beat last 4-0 is the team I beat 8-0, so I mean… you don’t need to be clever to understand what happened in that match.

“Even Maahier, when I was sick he had taken over, he would have won that match, yeah – so when we’re not aligned with how we execute things, within the vision, we were going parallel with each other and I think it was the 6th game we said I think it’s better we all don’t waste each others time and agreed to part.

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“You want to drive the vision by doing 1,2,3 and we as a team want it 1,2,3 – so I said I have to stay with what I know, I have to stick to my principles that won trophies we achieved, we won the league last season – we wanted that to help us.

“We’ve been successful for the last seven, eight years, winning trophies and they’ve not won anything for 13 years, so I think we should be going this way, they think the other way, we liked each other, happy with each other, no problem with work, we’re winning.

“But we differed on how to do the work, it was the best thing to part ways, the best thing for the team, it was good for me to come out as early as possible.”

Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Köhler is an award-winning South African football journalist. Having cut his teeth in the industry working at Kick-Off Magazine, he is now iDiski Times' senior digital content writer. He specialises in breaking top African football stories and transfers with a major focus on the 'big-three' Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates and CAF inter-club and international competitions. In 2021 he was listed amongst the top-five journalists under 30 in Print Media for the AIPS Awards.
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