Mamelodi Sundowns: Almeria chief denies interference in Sirino-to-Ahly transfer

Gaston Sirino, Mamelodi Sundowns, October 2020Backpagepix

Former Al Ahly honourary president Turki Al-Sheikh says he did not interfere in Mamelodi Sundowns playmaker Gaston Sirino’s failed transfer to the Egyptian champions. 

Sundowns issued a statement on Monday stating that they have terminated discussions with Al Ahly over the potential sale of the Uruguayan player, who is known to be keen to join the Red Devils.

There have been reports coming out of the North African country indicating that Al-Sheikh offered to help the Red Devils reach an agreement which would see Sirino join the African champions. 

However, Al-Sheikh, who used to be the owner of Egyptian Premier League outfit Pyramids FC from 2018 to 2019, has dismissed the rumours. 

"I support and love the Egyptian Al Ahly and I did not interfere in the Sirino deal. There are some people, who are fishing for trouble," Turki said on Cairo 24. "I am far from the sports scene in Egypt and refuse to interfere in anything related to football inside Egypt."

Al Ahly revoked Al-Sheikh's honorary president title in June 2020 after he was involved in a spat with the club's board member Mohamed Serag El-Din on social media.

The Saudi Arabian billionaire, who now owns Spanish Segunda Division club UD Almeria, indicated that he remains a fan of the Red Devils.

"If they ask me for something in the interest of Al Ahly, I will contribute to it, and I hope that the team will achieve good results in the Club World Cup," he added, "and if they ask me to intervene in any deal I will do so, but I will not intervene if they don't." 

Al Ahly qualified for the 2020 Fifa Club World Cup finals in Qatar after they clinched the 2019/20 Caf Champions League title under South African coach Pitso Mosimane. 

However, the global tournament was postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it will be played between 1 and 11 February 2021 in Qatar.

Al Ahly intensified their efforts to land Sirino after his former coach at Sundowns, Mosimane, joined the Cairo-based giants as the new head coach in October 2020.

Sundowns tied down Sirino to a new long-term deal in July 2020 as he signed a five-year contract extension which will expire in 2025.