Links delighted with EPL debut
Posted: 31 January 2018 Time: 17:00
South African teenager Gift Links has expressed his delight after making his first official appearance for new club Al Assiouty this past weekend.
Links came off the bench in the 25th minute as Al Assiouty grabbed a stoppage-time equaliser to salvage a point against Ittihad Alexandria on Sunday afternoon.
The 19-year-old, along with Namibian international Benson Shilongo, completed his switch from Platinum Stars to the Egyptian Premier League club a fortnight ago.
Shilongo also made his debut on Sunday, coming on with less than 30 minutes to go.
Links, though, was unsurprised by his early introduction in the game, and has since shared some insight into the level of football played in Egypt.
"I wasn't really surprised [to come off the bench after 25 minutes] because the coach told me that, from the first minute of the game, I must be ready," Links tells KickOff.com.
"When I came on I was ready to take the opportunity and they told me to just relax and play my normal game.
"The game is different ... Actually, everything is different here. The level of the game and the intensity is very high."
The Dikwena academy graduate made just two PSL appearances this season prior to his departure, and explains the decision to move to North Africa.
"I had an excellent stay at Platinum Stars, and I really appreciate everything they did for me in my career," he adds.
"I was with the club for about eight years – five with the academy – and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with with them.
"The thing is that this season I didn't get enough game-time because of the injury I picked up during the pre-season, and when I came back from the injury I had to go and write my Matric final exams.
"I moved here because Egypt is closer to Europe, so maybe after two or more seasons I'll be playing in Europe, who knows?"
Links and Shilongo have penned three-and-a-half and two-and-a-half-year deals respectively.
Al Assiouty's next task is against seventh-placed El Mokawloon on Friday afternoon, with kick-off set for 14h45 (SA time).