Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Pitso Mosimane has resigned in order to join "an international team" believed to be Egyptian giants Al Ahly.
Mosimane recently committed to a new four-year contract with Sundowns, who won the 2019-20 South African Premiership, but he has confirmed his resignation in a written statement posted on social media.
"It is with a sense of pain and sadness that I announce my departure from Mamelodi Sundowns Football Club," Mosimane said.
"I have accepted an offer to join an international team.
"Mamelodi Sundowns has been my family for almost eight years. The President, Dr Patrice Motsepe, has been like a father to me. He has been a mentor, a friend, a supporter and a confidante. I could never quit him or Mamelodi Sundowns.
An end to an incredible 8 year journey. pic.twitter.com/HbHxOWHx9m— Pitso Mosimane (@TheRealPitso) September 30, 2020
"I am only going away to carry the spirit of the Yellow Nation with me.
"After winning five league titles with Mamelodi Sundowns -- the 10th for the club -- how can a man ever find it easy to say goodbye to his home? How can I say goodbye to the family, the board, the supporters and the fans?
"From the deepest of my heart, I am so grateful that the President has blessed my move. I did not expect less from a man who has been so good and generous to me."
Mosimane coached SuperSport United and South Africa before joining Sundowns in 2012. He also won the South African Premiership with the club in 2013-14, 2015-16, 2017-18 and 2018-19, as well as the CAF Champions League in 2016.
Mosimane said that he was leaving Sundowns to seek a "new challenge that will push me out of my comfort zone".
"While I had four years remaining in my contract, this offer is a huge opportunity for me that would not have come had I not had the privilege to be part of the team that led Sundowns in winning the CAF Champions League and reaching the Club World Cup finals.
"I am the first to admit that in this journey there were mistakes and hiccups, but there were more laughs, victories, success, and camaraderie
"And this I take with me to my next destination - never to accentuate the challenges over the achievements."
Mosimane did not specify which club he would join, but he is expected to be headed to Al Ahly after the Egyptian club did not renew the contract of head coach Rene Weiler.
Sundowns released a statement quoting Motsepe as saying "'Pitso Mosimane and his agent Moira Tlhagale, who is also his wife, came to brief me on the discussions between Pitso Mosimane and a top Egyptian club".
"Sundowns has been aware of the ongoing discussions between Pitso Mosimane and the Egyptian club and with other North African clubs.
'I have on several occasions over the past few years expressed my support for Pitso Mosimane leaving Sundowns to coach in North Africa or Europe or Bafana Bafana. Football players and coaches have at times an uncertain and inconsistent future and must pursue new opportunities where they may grow and receive greater remuneration."
Motsepe said in the statement that Sundowns would make announcements "in due course" about Mosimane's replacement.
"Jose Ramon Alexanko will continue in his current role as Technical Director, and will carry on with the good work that he is doing at the academy. Sundowns will focus on preparing for the upcoming season and is ready to compete in South Africa, Africa and globally."