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Pitso Explains Why He Defended Maaloul & El Shenawy

Pitso Mosimane has explained why he defended Ali Maaloul after missing a penalty and Mohamed El Shenawy for a costly mistake, drawing comparison to Cristiano Ronaldo and Spain’s goalkeeper.

The South African tactician stood up for his players after both made costly mistakes in the 2-2 draw with Pyramids recently, when Maaloul missed a penalty while El Shenawy was at fault for conceding the late equaliser.

However, in the 4-0 victory over Smouha in the following game, Maaloul scored a penalty and ran over to celebrate with ‘Jingles’. When asked about the celebration, Mosimane explained why he defended his stars.

“Yeah, you don’t criticize your players, especially when they’re on a low,” he said when asked by iDiski Times about the incident during a virtual press talk with the SAFJA this week.

“I had Bongani scoring an own goal against Kaizer Chiefs. It was very sad for us because we could have won that match he scored an own goal. The next match he played.

“I Wayne Arendse doing the worst mistake ever, the next match he played. Dennis Onyango made made the biggest mistake in Maritzburg, the next day he played.

“I can mention many names, Hlompho Kekana missed a penalty against Wydad, I think it was, and the next thing he played.

“So I’ve even had Percy Tau missing a penalty against Wydad go to the semi-finals. Unbelievable. The next match he played. You must never forget the good days and focus on the worst days.

“Ali Maaloul scored the penalty in the biggest game against Esperance. The important goal, I think you saw how I celebrated that because that goal was so important for us. He scored that goal and do I forget that goal? I can’t forget that goal because he missed that one.

“So I spoke to Ali and I said ‘you have scored most (penalties) and you’re still gonna miss, you’re still gonna miss like (Cristiano) Ronaldo missed, you still gonna miss like (Roberto) Baggio missed,  you still gonna miss like Pele missed. you still gonna miss like everybody is missing penalties now.

“Look at this Euro, same as my captain, the goalkeeper against Pyramids we should never have drawn, but with one minute to go my goalkeeper made a mistake. The Spanish goalkeeper did one similar. Remember when the Spanish goalkeeper did mis-control the ball and the ball went into the net? My goal keeper did the same thing with one minute to go. 

“But he’s my goalkeeper. I remember him saving the penalty when we beat Palmeiras. I remember him saving a penalty when we won the Egyptian cup. He’s been there for me. 

“So it is that situation, so you don’t just forget what the players have done and especially senior players because you will need them. The coach needs the players. Sometimes coaches think the  players need them, no it is the opposite. We need the players.”

Mosimane then elaborated some more on the fact that Maaloul came to him to celebrate his goal, revealing what he told his star before the game.

“I like the players. I like celebrations. Look if they come to me, why not? I’m happy that they come to me, you know, and even at Sundowns,” he added.

“I don’t know, maybe it’s a relationship. But I like to keep a good relationship with the players because I know players make me feel, make me look good as a coach. 

“Players decide the game, not the coach. We navigate, we see the game, we give the plan, we give the directions and sometimes coaches think we are bigger. No, we navigate, we don’t play. They are the ones who score. 

“So it’s important to have a good relationship with my players. And I’m humbled. And I’m happy that he came to me because we had a talk after he missed. I told him, I said ‘you scored the most important penalty three days back. So you miss a penalty and you will still miss another one’. 

“And when the penalty (against Smouha) came, I said he must take it, so that he can cancel it. You miss, you score, it’s life.”

Al Ahly are again in action on Thursday night when they face Al Mokawloon in the another catch-up game in the Egyptian Premier League.