JOHANNESBURG - If it wasn’t for a Mamelodi Sundowns legend, Yannick Zakri could have been among the Wydad Casablanca forwards the Brazilians have to contain to reach the semi-finals of the Caf Champions League.
The Ivorian was wanted by a number of African giants, including the 19-time Moroccan champions, after his exploits with Asec Mimosas in last year’s Champions League. But Zakri chose Sundowns and made Wydad pay for losing out, scoring the goal that gave the African champions a 1-0 lead going into the second leg in Rabat on Saturday.
“I was influenced to come here, enjoy my football and then go to Europe by seeing Siaka Tiene do that at Sundowns,” Zakri said. “Al-Ahly, Zamalek and even Wydad wanted to sign me but I didn’t want to play in those parts. I wanted to come here and play for Sundowns.
"I saw their videos and what the South African league is about and I was impressed. I liked how Sundowns play and saw that I could fit in here. I told my president (at Asec, Roger Ouegnin) that I wanted to come here to get experience and then go to Europe.”
Tiene also joined the Brazilians from Asec before going on to have an impressive career in France with stints at PSG and Montpellier.