Pitso Mosimane says that Gaston Sirino was desperate to join Al Ahly, and says there needs to be a greater understanding of the effect that not allowing a player to move has on their long-term future.
Sirino has ended up staying at Mamelodi Sundowns after the Tshwane giants failed to reach an agreement with Ahly over his transfer, but Mosimane says that in a short career, it is normal for players to want to move, if the money offered is better elsewhere.
It was Mosimane at the head of Ahly’s mission to bring the Uruguayan playmaker from Sundowns, as it was Mosimane who brought Sirino to Masandawana.
“When I recruit, I recruit with a vision, and I told Sirino (at Sundowns) that ‘at your age, 26 (the age when Sirino joined the Pretoria club), you have missed Europe so your chances is in China, in the Middle East or in South Africa. At this point it is South Africa giving you an opportunity. Come here, do well and when you play in the Champions League and Club World Cup, the Middle East will see you,'” said Mosimane, in an interview on Wednesday with the South African Football Journalists Association.
Sirino was left out of the Sundowns side at the beginning of this season as he pushed for a move to Egypt, though he is now back in the fold.
“Now he is 29, going to 30, and I understand how he reacted, to say ‘I have chance to make a bit more for myself, this might be my last contract’. You can say he has a five-year contract at Sundowns, I also signed a four-year contract at Sundowns (Mosimane moved to Al Ahly at the end of last season).
“Percy Tau was sold under contract (to Brighton and Hove Albion). Players have 40 or 50 years to live (after football) … what do you live with if you are not skilled in anything but football? It is why (Andres) Iniesta moves (to Japan), it is why Xavi moves (to Qatar). It is a last chance and you have to go.
“Players, coaches and agents have a lot to learn. Sometimes we lose out on opportunities, especially players, we will say ‘this guy is bankrupt, he doesn’t have any money.’ There are many more years to live after football. Gaston was crying for this chance, I know that for sure.”