CAF Champions League dominated by impressive South African coaching contingent

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The South African coaches footprint will be louder than ever in the CAF Champions League group stages this year with the biggest representation that the country has had at this stage.

As has become the norm Mamelodi Sundowns have gone through to the last 16 for the seventh consecutive season and will this year be joined by debutants AmaZulu after they upset the applecart to knock out former champions TP Mazembe.

Sundowns have the pair of Manqoba Mngqithi and Rulani Mokwena as joint head coaches for the second season in a row in a set-up that also features Steve Komphela as a senior coach with all three local gaffers.

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At AmaZulu they have Bafana Bafana’s all-time goal scorer Benni McCarthy running the rule as head coach.

Continental heavyweights and Champions League holders Al Ahly have Pitso Mosimane in charge of the dressing room for the second season.

Mosimane – a local coach – arrived a year ago straight from Sundowns where he spent just under eight years.

Reaching the group stages is standard procedure for Al Ahly just like it has been for Mosimane since he returned to club football in December 2012.

The man whose achievements are worthy of being celebrated is Morena Ramoreboli.

From having never taken charge of a PSL club as head coach, Ramoreboli has gone out to Botswana to achieve a first not only for himself but his employers Jwaneng Galaxy as well.

Born in the Free State province, Ramoreboli has only been an assistant at Bloemfontein Celtic with the rest of his stints in the lower divisions along with Lioli of Lesotho while he had a taste of the international stage as a caretaker coach of Bafana Bafana at the COSAFA Cup. 

He is remembered for downing Orlando Pirates from the 2013 Nedbank Cup while with third-tier club Malutu FET College and so taking Galaxy to the group stages is his biggest achievement at club level.

To reach the group stages he stunned Simba SC with a team that hasn’t played any competitive domestic football since the beginning of last year.

Only Tunisia has as many coaches as South Africa in the group stages with four Lassaad Dridi (Etoile du Sahel), Radhi Jaidi (Esperance) Lassaad Chabbi (Raja Casablanca) and Nabil Kouki (ES Setif). 

The mark of South African coaches could grow bigger if both Orlando Pirates and Marumo Gallants also progress to the CAF Confederation Cup group stages with both already in the Play-Off round.

Pirates have Mandla Ncikazi and Fadlu Davids at the helm while Raymond Mdaka is leading Marumo.