BY MARK GLEESON
Phakamani Mahlambi has joined Al Ahly of Egypt in deal that is likely the biggest involving any South African club and will net the player some R5-million annually.
He signed on the dotted line on Thursday after a fortnight of intensive negotiations‚ penning a four year contract.
The transfer fee estimated to be worth in excess of R20-million for champions Bidvest Wits‚ who have had approaches from clubs like Benfica‚ Bournemouth and Galatasaray previously for the teenage sensation.
The move has been confirmed by the Wits’ chief executive officer Jose Ferreira‚ who told TIMESLive exclusively on Thursday night: “It was two weeks of solid work.
“The Egyptians are tough negotiators.
“There were times when I wasn’t optimistic it would get through but we stuck to our demands and in the end they came to the party.
“It is a real good deal for us and it could get even better if the player is then sold onto Europe.
“I think this is also the biggest deal they (Al Ahly) have ever done for a player.
“But they knew Zamalek were interested too.”
Mahlambi had been tracked by Al Ahly since his scintillating performances in the African Under-23 Championship in Senegal in 2015.
When Wits played the Egyptian giants in this year’s African Champions League‚ the Ahly coach Hossam Badary made inquiries about several of the players.
“We played them in the Champions League in March and they spoke to us then about two or three.
“They (Egyptian clubs) know our football very well.
“Their coached loved Phakamani‚ he loved (Elias) Pelembe and (Vincent) Pule.
“They went all out to get him.”
The deal comes just weeks after the 19-year-old returned after abortive trials in Portugal at Vitoria Guimaraes‚ where he spent a fortnight playing test games.