Such was striker Fahad Bayo’s coveted value at Vipers that at least four African superpowers had the door closed in their faces.
According to Bayo’s agent Swaib Bana, Moroccan side Wydad Casablanca, Tanzania’s Azam and South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns didn’t meet Vipers’ $250,000 (an estimated Shs923m) asking price giving Israel side Ashdod the opportunity to ensnare him.
Recent media reports also indicated that Egypt’s Al Ahly were interested in the gangly striker.
“For starters Bayo signed a pre-contract and the four-year contract will be signed the moment he flies out and passes the medical. That said, we feel he is at the right place and headed for bigger things,” Bana stressed.
Ashdod’s craving for aggressive, fast and clinical African strikers is well-documented and Bayo fits the bill in that aspect. His aerial presence, willingness to learn and tender age coupled with the fact that his childhood friend Timothy Awany literary opened the doors for him points to great times for him.
Bayo has been updating his national team boss Jonathan McKinstry about every potential deal and the Northern Irishman is elated that he chose the Middle East which is closer to Europe. “I’m very pleased that another Ugandan has moved to a competitive league that will help improve his career.
We have just heard Mustafa Kizza’s move to Major League Soccer (MLS).
"Bayo’s move to Israel top league is another sign that Ugandan football is growing,” McKinstry told Daily Monitor.
“Fahad has been keeping abreast on the offers in Europe and Africa to move to the Middle East near Europe at 22 is a blessing. Israel itself is a very competitive league and will be helped to settle in. If he scores goals like Edrisa Lubega is doing in Estonia or Alexis Bakka in Sweden, naturally he is going to attract the appeal in upper leagues,” he added.
Vipers at Catch 22
Vipers coach Fred Kajoba has been in a recruitment drive lately that has brought in Ibrahim Orit, Jamil Kalisa and Disan Galiwango ostensibly to boost the goal-getting realm.
Bayo’s 12 goals last term, nine in the first round and three in the second in the title winning campaign won them matches against Proline, Wakiso Giants, URA, Express, Kyetume and Tooro United.
“We are really going to miss his services but I believe that it was the right time for him to go professional yet again,” Kajoba told online website Football256.
Worryingly, the other striking options at Vipers flattered to deceive last season with Dan Sserunkuma netting three goals, Tito Okello (3), Abraham Ndugwa (2), Denis Mwemezi (2) and the rest one.
If previously injured Muhammad Shaban doesn’t regain his groove then Vipers will go into the market and heighten their pursuit for Mbarara City’s Brian Aheebwa.