Brazilians digging in about R48m offer from Cairo

Downs might block Sirino's move to Al Ahly

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Mamelodi Sundowns playmaker Gaston Sirino.
Mamelodi Sundowns playmaker Gaston Sirino.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

A deal between Mamelodi Sundowns star Gaston Sirino and Egyptian giants Al Ahly is believed to have been agreed, subject to the Brazilians accepting the offer.

Al Ahly have been admirers of Sirino for a while now. The presence of coach Pitso Mosimane, who mentored Sirino at the Brazilians, may have just enhanced the Red Devils’ chances to lure the 29-year-old Uruguayan.

“Sirino has agreed to join Al Ahly in principle…he’s so keen to work with coach Pitso again. The biggest problem is that Sundowns have not accepted Al Ahly’s offer…that’s the hindrance for now,’’ said a source close to Sundowns.

In June, Sirino penned a new five-year deal at Chloorkop, meaning a club that want him must meet the demands of the Brazilians first. Various media reports have suggested that Al Ahly have tabled a bid in the region of R48m for Sirino.

While Downs’ senior manager Yogesh Singh couldn't be reached for comment, as he never answered his mobile phone, the club’s spokesman Shuping Nkgadima asked to be called after an hour, but never answered our calls and texts after that.

Sowetan managed to track down Egyptian football journalist Ahmed Essam, who works for local publication, to weigh in on Sirino’s possible move to link-up with Mosimane in north Africa.

“The news [of Sirino joining Al Ahly] is trending all over Egypt. As I heard from the club, Al Ahly were trying to get the deal done, but it didn’t happen until now. Pitso is targeting the player to play a key role in his team next season,’’ Essam said yesterday.

Interestingly, Essam reckons Sirino would only be suited at left-wing, should he end up in Egypt. 

“I believe he can only be a left-winger…I know he’s right-footed but in his natural position Al Ahly already have Hussein El Shahat whom they bought from [United Arab] Emirates side Al Ein, they paid $5m for him,’’ said Essam.

Retired Downs star Manqoba “Shakes” Ngwenya sees Sirino’s potential switch to Al Ahly as a thing that would put Sundowns on the map, feeling the move would also give youngsters like Promise Mkhuma a chance to grow.

“When Patrice Motsepe bought this team he wanted international teams to recognise our players and now it’s happening. If Sirino really leaves, that would be good for Sundowns’ profile…it will show that we can produce big players and also the move will give the likes of Mkhuma a chance to play regularly,’’ Ngwenya stated.

It remains to be seen if Sirino will feature when Downs take on Cape Town City in a league tie at Cape Town Stadium tonight (7.30pm).

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