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Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Gaston Sirino is back in favour at the club. Picture: SAMUEL SHIVAMBU/BACKPAGEPIX
Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder Gaston Sirino is back in favour at the club. Picture: SAMUEL SHIVAMBU/BACKPAGEPIX

A few months ago, it looked like the love affair between Gaston Sirino and Mamelodi Sundowns was over. 

The Uruguayan midfielder desperately wanted a move away from Chloorkop amid reported interest in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. 

The club maintained that he was not going anywhere as his valuation was allegedly not met by prospective buyers and he was frozen out, putting his future at the club in serious doubt. 

Fast forward to this season, and Sirino is back in favour after he apologised to the club and his teammates and he may play a crucial role for the Brazilians in the difficult continental terrains of the African Football League and Caf Champions League. 

This season, he scored the equaliser in regulation time as Sundowns went on to lose on penalties to TS Galaxy in the Carling Knockout Cup and then was instrumental in Saturday’s 0-0 AFL quarterfinal second leg draw with 10 men against Petro Atlético.

Sundowns beat Petro 2-0 on aggregate and will meet Al Ahly in the two legged semifinal on Saturday at Loftus and in Egypt on Wednesday.

“Gaston has done exceptionally well since his return, he has shown incredible humility and that’s life,” said Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena. 

“Gaston’s story is an incredible one for all of us — we all make mistakes but, like he has done, we accept that you have made a mistake and you are remorseful and you accept your wrongs. 

“I also have to give his teammates the plaudits for welcoming him and accepting him back into the group by showing him the love they have shown him.” 

Mokwena is expecting a bruising battle against Al Ahly, and looking forward to pitting his wits against former Sundowns star Percy Tau, who has been in form in the Red Devils’ attack. 

“An Al Ahly fixture is always interesting, it has a lot in it and it is two good teams. They have many good players and I watched their [quarterfinal first leg] away to Simba in Tanzania, which ended 2-2. 

“Of course you know that they have a very special kid who I love so dearly [Tau] and I am excited to see.”

Mokwena is hoping to have key players Peter Shalulile and Thapelo Morena back to full fitness. 


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