Links delighted with Egyptian progress
Posted: 18 May 2018 Time: 19:00
South African midfielder Gift Links is happy to be back home following a productive first six months of plying his trade in Egypt.
Links left for North Africa in January as he swapped Platinum Stars for Al Assiouty, becoming the second South African to make the switch to Egypt after Bafana Bafana youngster Phakamani Mahlambi’s move at the start of the season.
The Dikwena youth graduate has managed to establish himself in the side in a relatively short space of time, registering 12 appearances out of a possible 15 to help the club to a ninth-place finish in the 18-team league.
The Rustenburg-born winger is delighted to have adapted so seamlessly, alongside former Stars teammate Benson Shilongo, who also joined the club in a double swoop.
“To be honest, my first six months in Egypt was good for me because I managed to adapt very quickly, with the help of the staff and players,” Links tells KickOff.com.
“They made us feel compatible and like we are home. It’s difficult for most players to go that side and adapt quickly, and it sometimes takes up to six months but for me it was easy, and in my first game I started kicking already.”
At just 19 years of age, Links says he was not surprised at his swift introduction to Egyptian Premier League action, and knew what was expected of him from the moment he was signed.
“I was not surprised to play that much because I knew that if a team shows interest in me, they need me and want me to come and play, not just to go there and sit on the bench,” he says confidently.
“But at the same time that doesn’t mean that I have to go there and mess around, I have to go and work so that I can get into the line-up.
“You know how coaches are – they won’t just throw you in immediately, maybe you’ll get integrated slowly as a substitute in the first game and then start from there. That’s what happened with me and I grabbed my chance with both hands.”
Links has been called up by Stuart Baxter into the preliminary Bafana Bafana squad for the COSAFA Cup, which will start in Polokwane in 10 days.