SA players abroad: Only Zungu shines
Posted: 21 December 2017 Time: 08:26
A number of South Africans abroad would have hoped for much-needed game-time in their clubs’ last fixture of 2017, yet only Bongani Zungu cracked the nod in his side’s midweek fixture.
There was a full schedule of games in Ligue 1 on Wednesday night, as Zungu’s club Amiens – who sat 13th in the standings – took on fifth-placed Nantes, coached by former Leicester City’s championship-winning manager Claudio Ranieri.
Zungu was handed a starting berth, his 12th of the season, yet was replaced on 70 minutes by Frenchman Guessouma Fofana with the game deadlocked at 0-0, as the hosts went in search of the winner. It would be a heart-breaking end to 2017 for Amiens, who conceded in the second minute of stoppage time to lose 1-0 – their fourth league defeat in succession.
Amiens did however retain 13th spot on the log, ending the year with 21 points from their 19 games, 10 points clear of bottom-placed Metz, and will no doubt be satisfied with their mid-table position, having only been promoted from Ligue 2 at the start of the current campaign.
Elsewhere in France, Keagan Dolly and Lebogang Phiri were both unused substitutes for their respective teams, as Dolly’s Montpellier beat Bordeaux 2-0, while Phiri’s Guingamp won 2-1 at home to St Etienne.
Dolly, who has only one start and three substitute appearances in the league this season, was drafted back into the first team after featuring in two games for Montpellier II last week, starting both games for the club’s reserve team.
Phiri, meanwhile, finishes 2017 with five league starts and six substitute outings to his name, as Guingamp end the year in eighth on the Ligue 1 table, level on points with Montpellier.
Over in Egypt, despite featuring as a substitute for their last four games in succession, Phakamani Mahlambi was not in the squad on Wednesday night as Al Ahly beat eighth-placed Smouha 2-1, the victory leaving them two points behind log leaders Ismaily with two games in hand.
The French league is now on recess until January 7, while Al Ahly are next in action on Christmas Day, in a league encounter against ninth-placed El Entag El Harby.