Gambia international midfielder Hamza Barry has signed a one-year contract with Israeli Premier League club Maccabi Netanya, Nna Gambia News can exclusively report.
The 20-year-old signs a deal with the club based in the Northern Central District of Israel from Maltese Premier League side Valletta, where he turned down the option of extending his contract.
Hamza, who was instrumental in Gambia’s goalless draw with South Africa two months back, has the option to extend his contract should he impress coach Shlomi Dora and Netanya.
Nna Gambia News understands that the 1,81m midfielder earlier signed a three-year contract with fellow Israeli club, Maccabi Haifa, that boasts of former Liverpool and Chelsea midfielder Yossi Benayoun as their captain, but a move to the Sammy Ofer Stadium fell through at the last minute.
Maccabi, nicknamed the Diamonds, play their home matches at the 13,800-capacity Netanya Stadium. Established in 1934, the club was a founding member of the Israeli League in 1949.
They have won the Israeli Premier League five times in 1970/71, 1973/74, 1977/78, 1979/80 and 1982/83.
The Premier League in Israel doesn’t commence until August 22, but Hamza could well yet debut for his team in a Toto Cup Al (an Israeli Cup) match against Hapoel Be’er Sheva FC this Sunday.
Hamza started his professional career in 2012 when he signed for Valletta from local club Gambia Ports Authority.
He joined the southern European club in the 2013 summer transfer window after representing Gambia in its 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against Ivory Coast and Morocco respectively.