By Modou Lamin Beyai
Croatian club HNK Hajduk Split have announced the permanent signing of Gambia midfielder Hamza Barry from Cypriot club Apollon Limassol.
The 22-year-old, who has spent the last season on loan at the Croatian top-flight side, has signed a contract that will keep him at the UEFA Europa League bound club until 2020.
The club said in a statement: “Midfielder Hamza Barry (22) remains in Hajduk! The club decided to keep him and make him available to coach Joan Carrillo for next season and the agreement was officially reached. Hamza has signed an agreement with the Whites for three years and after borrowing from Apollon Limassol, he is now formally a player of Hajduk.”
“I am pleased to stay in Hajduk. I really enjoy playing and living in Split. I look forward to the new season and I believe we will thrive in every sense,” Hamza, who is currently with the Scorpions at their training camp in Accra, Ghana, ahead of the AFCON qualifier with Benin on Sunday, told the club’s official website.
It was always likely that Hajduk would turn Hamza’s loan from Apollon into a permanent move but there’s something especially amusing about the club doing it so soon.
Barry scored five goals in 30 appearances as Hajduk finished 3rd on the Croatian league table to secure a ticket to the second qualifying round of next season’s Europa League.
It’s a wise move for any number of reasons, the least of which being a virtuoso season at his age could net a wild transfer fee down the line.
The former Gambia Ports Authority has played for Valetta FC, Hapoel Tel Aviv and Maccabi Netanya since turning professional four years ago.