…Keeping Aziz Ki a challenge for Yanga, reveals president Hersi

By Nassir Nchimbi , The Guardian
Published at 06:00 AM Jul 10 2024
Aziz Ki
Photo: Courtesy of Yanga
Aziz Ki

YOUNG Africans SC president Engineer Hersi Said has admitted to facing competition from foreign clubs in retaining their last season’s best scorer Stephanie Aziz Ki.

The Burkina Faso international has become one of the most sought-after talents on the continent since joining the club from ASEC Mimosas and securing the Premier League Golden Boot last season.

Aziz Ki helped the Jangwani-based side to reach the quarter-finals of the CAF Champions League before they were controversially knocked out by Mamelodi Sundowns in a penalty shootout.

His performance in the CAF Champions League has seen the 28-year-old linked with South African giants Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns, and Egyptian side Pyramids in recent months.

“It’s very tough for us to lose players, especially one like Aziz Ki. I’m not saying we’re going to lose him but there’s a lot of interest coming from a number of clubs, including clubs in South Africa,” he said at the launch of the Toyota Cup on Monday.

“But Young Africans have a very strong connection with the player and we’ve done our homework as leaders of the club to make sure the player stays in the club. And the discussion is going very well.

“We will come back and do the [announcement] when we finalize, but for now nothing has been finalized, even though there are a lot of clubs interested in the player. So the discussion is there, I can say, there’s a big chance for him to stay but we haven’t finalized yet.”

When pressed on the position of the player and whether he is keen to stay with the East African giants, Eng. Said admitted he’s happy, but money is what talks at the end of the day for clubs and players.

“He’s been in a position of making it clear he wants to stay. You know I signed him two years ago from ASEC Mimosas and I told him about my project. We want to take this team to the next level.

“He was the key member of the project and plan I was putting in place, so our discussion was the same and he was very keen to say that, ‘I need to be here in Young Africans and at least take this team to the project level we want it to be at’.

“So yes he wants to stay but football is business nowadays, you can be tempted to stay but financial approaches can change your mind… so 60 [percent chance he stays], 40 [percent chance he leaves],” he said.

Young Africans are on the verge of regrouping as they prepare for the forthcoming campaign. The Jangwani-based side have started their pre-season camp at Kigamboni and face Kaizer Chiefs in a high-profile friendly match on July 28.