Gamal credited for historic Wits move
Posted: 22 August 2017 Time: 17:00
Bidvest Wits CEO Jose Ferreira has explained the complications around the historic signing of striker Amr Gamal’s from Al Ahly, and praised the player for his role in sealing the deal.
Gamal becomes the first ever Egyptian footballer to ply his trade in South Africa, joining the Absa Premiership champions on a season-long deal deal with an option to purchase.
Upon meeting in their CAF Champions League second round two-legged clashes back in March, Wits coach Gavin Hunt was immediately left impressed with the pacey marksman, who struck the woodwork in both ties.
“We had our eye on him since March, when we played Al Ahly, and our coach [Gavin Hunt] immediately identified him as a potential player for us,” revealed Ferreira.
“We started working on trying to secure the services of Gamal as soon as the season ended, and this was probably the most difficult player that I’ve ever had to negotiate for.
“You must understand the context under which we approached Al Ahly to try and get him, it took us a good two months of solid work every single day to try and get the player here.”
Ferreira has credited Gamal’s efforts in trying to force his way out at the Cairo-based outfit, as he highlighted the main stumbling block, which did not include the finances but rather Al Ahly coach Hossam Al Badry’s reluctance to lose a quality player.
“It wasn’t so much the financial aspect of the deal – yes, of course, there’s always that part – but the most difficult part of getting Gamal here was the reluctance on the part of Al Ahly to let him come to us, in particular their coach,” he added.
“I think I don’t speak out of turn when I say this but, Al Ahly are a top club – they’re the biggest club on the African continent. The only reason he is here is, not because of us and not because of Al Ahly but, because of Amr Gamal.
“He persisted, worked very hard in trying to convince his club to allow him to come to South Africa, and his coach was in fact the biggest stumbling block in us getting him here.
“Between us and Al Ahly, negotiations were very, very tough, but having a coach that didn’t want to release him made it even more difficult.”
Form is not something the 26-year-old is lacking as he proved by scoring twice in their Champions League group decider against Cotonsport in July to ensure Al Ahly's passage to the quarterfinals, before scoring and assisting as they beat El Masry 2-1 in the Egypt Cup final last week Tuesday – something Ferreira had feared may well quell their chances of landing him in Milpark.
“As much as Amr persisted with his club to try and get released, at the same time he wasn’t helping us because in July he scored two goals in the Champions League, and we though that was a step back,” continued Ferreira.
“Then last week, in the Egypt Cup final he came on with a few minutes left in extra-time and scored and assisted to help them come from 1-0 down to win the cup.
“Everyday I was saying to my coach and saying, ‘we’re not going to get this player because if his coach is already reluctant to release him, imagine now.’
“So it was really an arduous and difficult [challenge], and if it wasn’t for Gamal, who immediately fell in love with out club when we played Al Ahly in March, and his persistence [he wouldn’t be here today]."