AS Vita head coach Florent Ibenge has lauded Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane for breaking the barriers for African coaches ahead of the CAF Champions League final.
Ibenge, 58, has reached two continental finals with the Linafoot giants and won two league titles ahead of TP Mazembe since being appointed as head coach in 2012.
While he held a dual responsibility of managing the DR Congo national team between 2014 and 2019, he's stepped down after the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt last year.
With Ibenge and Mosimane widely considered as two of the finest coaches in African football, the Vita boss has praised his close friend for his achievements that's led to his historic move to the Club of the Century.
"Pitso Mosimane is my friend, and we have attended training sessions together before. We were talking about the fact that African coaches only have the opportunity to train in their country," he told OnTime Sports.
"Mosimane [has] made the difference and climbed the wall that we all strive to climb and succeeded in managing [a club] outside South Africa."
On predicting who will reign victorious in the Cairo Derby to lift the most coveted title in African club football, Ibenge admits he's on the fence with compatriot Kabongo Kasongo part of the Zamalek squad.
"My heart is divided in half. Pitso is my friend, but I have another friend in Zamalek, Kasongo, but we are all proud of this final and Mosimane always pushes me to continue to succeed," Ibenge admitted.
"We [Vita] were close in 2014 to the first final of one country between us and Mazembe, but this did not happen, and now Al-Ahly and Zamalek are a model for us to repeat that final from one country again.
"I see it as a final with equal chances for all, I cannot say who is better or more than the other candidate."
The Red Devils take on Jamie Pacheco's White Knights at 21h00 on Friday evening at the Cairo International Stadium.