Cape Argus

Sirino seeks a move to Al Ahly, says Mosimane

- MIHLALI BALEKA @Mihlalibal­eka

PITSO Mosimane has distanced himself from allegation­s that he is the mastermind behind Al Ahly’s pursuit of Mamelodi Sundowns talisman Gaston Sirino for next season.

Mosimane left Sundowns two months ago, taking over the coaching reins at the African Club of the Century. At Al Ahly, Mosimane has delivered the CAF Champions League trophy after a seven-year wait.

Mosimane joined the club at the Champions League semi-finals stage. The 56-year-old guided Al Ahly past Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca 5-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals and rivals Zamalek SC 2-1 in the Cairo derby final.

In the build-up to next season, reports say the Red Devils are hellbent on bolstering their squad with Sirino on a R50 million deal before their transfer window slams on Sunday.

Despite recently renewing his contract with Sundowns with a fiveyear deal, the 29-year-old attacking midfielder admitted he’s keen to reunite with his former coach in North Africa, said Mosimane.

Speaking to the South African Football Journalist­s Associatio­n yesterday, Mosimane confirmed negotiatio­ns between the clubs are in motion.

“Yes, Ahly want Sirino. They like Sirino. Ahly spoke to Sundowns officially and all that. (But) I don’t want to tell you a lot of things that have been happening,” said Mosimane, whose team will meet El Gaish in the Egyptian Cup final tomorrow night.

While Al Ahly's interest in Sirino emerged after Mosimane's arrival, the latter says even during their time together at Sundowns – where they won three league titles, the Telkom Knockout and Nedbank Cup – the talks were there.

"It’s just a perception that I am the one who wants Sirino at Al Ahly because I am in the hot seat now,” Mosimane said. “It will always link to me. I am not angry with it because it has always been there. You know about it; you wrote about it all the time.”

Mosimane has already signed Ahmed Ramadan and welcomed back some players from loan spells. But Sirino would be a marquee signing for “Jingles”, who stressed the South American was saddened by his departure from Sundowns.

“Sirino wants to come to Ahly,” Mosimane said. “It’s unbelievab­le because he said ‘you are the first person I met in South America and said come to South Africa. And now you’ve left’. But what am I going to do? I have to follow my path.”

Sirino is not the only Premier Soccer League player said to be wanted by Al Ahly since Mosimane’s arrival – Footballer of the Season Themba Zwane and Kaizer Chiefs striker Samir Nurkovic are on their radar. Mosimane conceded anything is possible in profession­al football.

“He wants to play for Ahly, that’s a fact. Sundowns know that. But there are a lot of emotions that it’s Pitso (who wants him)," Mosimane said. "Stories are the ones (saying) I want to take Themba Zwane and all that. I don’t have anything to do with Sundowns. But opportunit­ies are there for everyone to take.”

 ?? | EPA ?? AL Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane.
| EPA AL Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane.

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