Yannick Zakri chose Mamelodi Sundowns over Wydad Casablanca, Zamalek and Al Ahly
Posted: 20 September 2017 Time: 11:00
Mamelodi Sundowns forward Yannick Zakri has revealed the likes of Wydad Casablanca, Zamalek and Al Ahly were interested in his services, but he chose to join the African champions last season.
Zakri, who joined the Tshwane giants from Ivorian side ASEC Mimosas, scored the winner in a 1-0 victory for Sundowns in the CAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg against Wydad at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Sunday, makng a nuisance of himself with his pace.
Wydad must have been wishing that they had Zakri on their side on Sunday, but the speedster explained why he decided to join Sundowns.
“Before I come to Sundowns, Al Ahly, Zamalek and even Wydad [were interested]. But I said, ‘No, I don’t want to play in north [Africa]’. I want to play here because I saw the video [of Sundowns], I saw the South Africa league and I say to my president I want to get that experience,” said Zakri, whose English has improved since joining Sundowns.
Zakri struggled for a while to find his feet, but has recently shown that he can be a valuable player for Pitso Mosimane’s side.
Some Ivorian players who have played for Sundowns in the past include former PSG player Siaka Tiene, Frank Guela and Adama Ouattara.
“Everyone has helped me [settle]. When you know your teammates believe and trust you, even the coach, then you must work hard. It’s my first team outside my country, so it was difficult for me but now it’s much better.”
Zakri played against Wydad last year while he was ASEC, so he knows what to expect in Rabat. The second leg will be played at Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium on Saturday.
“I played against Wydad three times, so I know almost every player there. I know how they play. They are a big in team in Africa, so I respect that.
“It’s fire there. You know when Arab people play at home it’s not the same as when they are away. It’s going to be difficult.”
Zakri’s goal could prove to be key for Sundowns as they look to reach the semi-final again.
“That goal was very important for us. I know Sundowns can play well away from home. We are going there for a nice result. I trust my team, I trust the coach and I think we will come back with the victory.”