Phaka, Links set for Egyptian showdown

Phakamani Mahlambi’s Al Ahly are set to visit Gift Links’s Al Assiouty at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Cairo on Friday evening, with kick-off scheduled for 17h15 (SA time).

Mahlambi last year became the first South African to ply his trade in Egypt, after joining the Red Devils from Bidvest Wits on a four-year deal, which will run until June 2021.

Links, meanwhile, completed his move to Egypt from Platinum Stars last month, along with Namibian international Benson Shilongo, penning a four-and-a-half year contract.

The 19-year-old Dikwena youth graduate has managed one assist in two appearances thus far, while his 20-year-old countryman is beginning to find his feet, having contributed a goal and three assists in his last two outings. caught up with Links ahead of tomorrow evening’s showdown, and he admits respect for the “biggest club in Africa” but says they will be gunning for maximum points once the whistle goes.

“I’m excited about the game, it’s one of the biggest in the league, and I hope to make the most of the opportunity,” he says from his new home.

“Al Ahly is one of the best clubs in Africa … in fact, it’s not one of the best, it is the best in Africa, so all our focus is on the game.

“We are also ready for the game, as you know, the last game we won and so did they. We respect Al Ahly, but we are not scared of them.

“In football you never know what will happen, so our aim is to go there and collect three points. If not three points, then at least one.”

Regarding the possibility of coming up against Mahlambi, Links reveals a conversation they shared after meeting for the first time this past weekend since his arrival in the country.

“Coming up against my fellow South African in Phakamani, I think it will be a good experience,” he says.

“We met last week after our game, and we chilled and spoke about this coming game. We joked about it for a bit, and he told me, ‘Boy, relax. You won’t come out with anything, we’re taking all three points’.

“And I responded, saying, ‘Okay, we’ll see. This is football; Football will humble you. You never know what will happen’.”