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South African Players abroad: Season review, Part 1

Posted: 30 June 2018 Time: 14:00

Following the culmination of the 2017/18 campaign, reviews the past season of South Africans plying their trade abroad.


The 21-year-old featured in just seven league matches – all off the bench – and in just one Belgian Cup fixture for St Truiden in the top-flight, seeing just 140 minutes of action in total as his side finished 10th out of 16 teams in the league.


Bartlett, the 19-year-old son of former Bafana Bafana international Shaun, made four starts and two substitute appearances for Newcastle United’s Under-23 side in the Premier League 2 Division Two, with his club ending the season 10th out of 12 teams.


Starting the season turning out for Benfica II in the Portuguese Second Division, Cele made just three starts and three subs before being sent out on loan to Real SC, also in the Second Division, and the same team he had turned out for last year. In six months, the 21-year-old KwaMashu-born midfielder made 14 appearances, scoring one goal, yet his efforts could not prevent the club from finishing last on the log and suffering relegation. Cele is however due back at Benfica, with whom he has a contract until 2022.


In his first full season in France following his January 2017 arrival, Dolly was out of favour over the first half of the campaign, missing four months of action before taking his chance in the domestic cup competitions in January. He then became a regular for Montpellier in the league, ending the season with 22 caps in total, and a memorable first goal against Nantes in May. Montpellier finished the season 10th in Ligue 1.


The 22-year-old Ajax Cape Town academy product was a regular for Vitoria Guimaraes II, ending the season with 31 games and four goals under his belt, helping the club finish 11th in the 20-team league. He has recently been linked with a move back to South Africa.


After starting the season with French side Rennes, where he failed to get a game and made just two appearances for the reserve team, Erasmus was released by the club, going on to sign for Swedish Second Division side AFC Eskilstuna. Since his arrival in March, the former SuperSport United and Orlando Pirates striker has featured in 10 games, scoring two goals, with his club sitting fourth in the league after 14 games. The league is still in progress.


In his eighth season in Scotland, the South African midfielder featured in 20 matches as Scottish League One side Livingston earned a spot in the promotion play-offs, where they battled for a spot in the Championship against top-flight club Partick Thistle. Livingston defied the odds in securing a 3-1 aggregate victory, with Jacobs contributing a goal in the play-offs to help his side gain promotion for the first time since 2006.


The 26-year-old made 29 starts for Scottish Championship side Queen of the South, netting a solitary goal as his side finished sixth in the 10-team Second Division.


Jali featured prominently for Belgian club KV Oostende this season, making 29 appearances across all competitions before a knee injury in March cut his campaign short, with Oostende going on to finish 11th in the 16-team Belgian top-flight. Following his return to South Africa while injured, the Bafana Bafana’s contract with the Belgian club was mutually terminated, ending his four-and-a-half year stay in Europe, following which he was unveiled as a Mamelodi Sundowns player ahead of the new season.


Starting the season with Portuguese giants Sporting CP, the 19-year-old found game-time hard to come by as he was loaned out to Danish Second Division side HB Koge in January, where he scored once in two starts and nine substitute appearances as he helped the side finish fifth in the 12-team league. Jordan has since made his move to Denmark permanent, signing a two-year deal with the second-tier outfit.


After securing a move to American National Women Soccer League side Houston Dash earlier this year, visa problems meant Kgatlana only made her debut in April, where she has since made just one start and eight appearances from the bench, chipping in with three assists, as the Banyana Banyana star helped her top-tier club to seventh place in the nine-club league after 14 games. The league is still in progress.


After just one league and Telkom Knockout appearance for Platinum Stars, the talented 19-year-old made a mid-season move to Al Assiouty, making 13 appearances across all competitions as the club finished ninth in the 18-team Egyptian top-flight, while exiting the domestic cup in the quarter-finals after losing out to giants Al Ahly. Al Assiouty was recently sold to Saudi Arabia’s Turki Al-Sheikh, a former honorary president of Al Ahly, who has since renamed the team Al Ahram FC.


After securing a high profile move from Bidvest Wits to continental giants Al Ahly, Mahlambi had to bide his time before breaking into his star-studded team, ending the season with seven league starts and five substitute appearances to his name as the Red Devils claimed a record 40th Egyptian league title. The 20-year-old made one domestic cup appearance, and has earned two starts in the CAF Champions League this year, with his side struggling as they sit bottom of Group A with just one point after two games, resulting in the resignation of coach Hossam el Badry in May.


In his second season in the Romanian top-flight, Mahlangu made 39 appearances for Dinamo Bucuresti across all competitions, netting two goals as his club finished eighth out of 14 teams in the league, forcing them into a relegation mini-league where they topped the table with ease. They lost to eventual champions Craiova in the quarter-finals of the domestic cup.


It was a season to forget for the 2016/17 PSL Player of the Year, who saw his career nosedive after moving to Turkish club Konyaspor last year. One start and six substitute appearances in the league, followed by two goals in three cup appearances before the turn of the year did not make for bad reading, but that’s where the season would end for the former Cape Town City captain, who did not make another appearance for the rest of the campaign. Konyaspor eventually finished the season 15th, narrowly escaping automatic relegation by three points.


The 26-year-old started the season with Uniao Madeira in the Portuguese Second Division, making 15 league and five cup appearances before moving to rivals Nacional in January, making just two league appearances as the club won the league to gain automatic promotion to the Portuguese top-flight next season.


On the books of Swedish top-flight club Djurgaden, the Cape Town-born forward spent last year on loan at Second Division outfit Degerfors, netting seven goals in 29 league games, before being sent out on loan once more at the start of the 2018 season, where he is currently at second-tier club Brage. The 21-year-old, who missed a month of action due to injury, has scored twice in nine games this year, with the club sitting sixth on the log after 14 games.


The 19-year-old made two starts and three substitute appearances for his Southampton Under-23 side, scoring one goal as the club finished sixth out of 12 teams in the Premier League 2 Division Two.

Article by: Fabio De Dominicis
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