SA Players abroad: Season review, Part 2
Posted: 1 July 2018 Time: 14:00
Following the culmination of the 2017/18 campaign, KickOff.com reviews the past season of South Africans playing their trade abroad.
Joining Reno 1868 last year on loan from San Jose Earthquakes, Mfeka made the move permanent in December last year, having scored six goals in 22 games for the club in 2017 as they finished third in the Western Conference, before bowing out the championship stages in the quarter-finals. Sixteen games into the 2018 season, Mfeka has featured 13 times, scoring three goals, with the club sitting in seventh of 17 teams in America’s Western Conference second-tier league.
In his first season in England after joining Championship side Brentford from Dutch club Twente, Mokotjo performed admirably in midfield, making 35 league appearances across the campaign, chipping in with a solitary goal, as his side finished ninth of 24 teams in England’s second-tier.
Having helped American USL club Swope Park Rangers to a runners-up spot last year, Moloto made the switch to rivals Nashville ahead of the new season, where he has since featured in every game this campaign, contributing four goals to help his side to sixth of 16 teams in the Eastern Conference after 14 games.
Starting the season on loan with Second Division side Valenciennes, Mothiba’s eight goals in 20 appearances saw mother club Lille recall the talented striker, who impressed in his maiden half-season in the French top-flight. His five goals in 14 games proved crucial as Lille finished the season in 17th spot, preserving their top-flight status for next season by just a solitary point.
In her first season in America, Motlhalo has been a regular under Vera Pauw at Houston Dash, having started 10 games so far for the NWSL side who sit in seventh place in the nine-club league after 14 games.
A star player for Azerbaijan club Qarabag, who he helped win the league last year while also firing them to their maiden UEFA Champions League appearance - where he featured in four of the six group stage games - Ndlovu then penned a big-money deal with Chinese second division club Zhejiang Greentown in January. He has been in red-hot form for his new club, banging home nine goals in 11 appearances so far, with the club sitting fourth out of 16 teams after 13 games.
Having a secured a move from League Two side Stevenage ahead of the new season, the South African defender made 20 appearances for new League One side Rochdale, as the club finished 20th out of 24 teams in the league, narrowly missing automatic relegation by one point.
Now in his fourth season in Poland, the Johannesburg-born defender made 32 starts as Pogon Szczecin finished 12th of 16 teams in the Polish top-flight, before safely negotiating the relegation mini-league to end third out the eight teams, thus preserving their top-flight status.
In his third season with Vitoria Guimaraes, Phete enjoyed a solid campaign, scoring one goal in 13 starts and eight substitute appearances as his side finished mid-table in 11th spot in the Portuguese Second Division.
In his first season in France following his move from Danish club Brondby, Phiri held his own in Ligue 1, making 22 appearances as Guingamp ended the campaign 12th out of the 20 teams in the French top-flight.
In his second season with Turkish club Genclerbirligi, the South African striker made four starts and two substitute appearances before going AWOL, after which he was released and is now clubless.
The 21-year-old, who made just two league starts last season and just one start in his club’s cup-winning campaign, has fared much better in his second season at Lithuanian club Stumbras, having made 12 starts and five substitute appearances, netting one goal, as his side sit fourth of eight teams after 17 games this season.
After a disappointing end to his time with Dutch giants Ajax, Serero once again proved his worth in the Netherlands at new club Vitesse, making 33 league appearances this season, contributing one goal as the club finished sixth of 18 teams in the Eredivisie. The 28-year-old then played his part in helping his club win the final of the Eredivisie Europa League play-offs, ensuring they will be in contention for a spot in Europe’s second-tier club competition next season.
Singh was a hit in his second season with Portuguese Second Division club Braga II, netting 11 goals in 35 appearances as the club narrowly escaped a relegation play-off berth on goal difference as they finished 16th in the 20-team league. The 20-year-old’s performances saw him earn promotion to the Braga first team ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.
The South African defender, whose loan move from Juventus to Serie B side Empoli has now been made permanent, featured prominently in the early stages of the season, yet played just three times in 2018, making 15 league appearances in total as Empoli secured second division honours by 13 points to book their spot in Italy’s top-flight next season.
JANINE VAN WYK
The 31-year-old defender is now in her second season with NSWL club Houston Dash, and has played in all 14 games so far this season, with her side sitting seventh on the nine-team log after 14 games.
In his first season with Groningen, the well-travelled striker started off well enough, yet did not play again after refusing to come on as a substitute in February, contributing four goals in 18 appearances in total as his side finished 12th in the Dutch top-flight. The striker has since penned a deal with Dutch club Rotterdam, who were relegated after finishing 17th in the league this past campaign.
After moving to France after just one year at Portuguese club Vitoria Guimaraes, Zungu took to his new surroundings with ease, becoming a regular in the Amiens in midfield with 26 games and one goal under his belt as the club – who were only just promoted last season – finished the campaign in 13th of 20 teams.