Large number of SA youngsters now plying trade overseas
Cape Town - Following two consecutive World Cup qualifications by Thabo Senong's U20 national team, the South African Football Association (SAFA)'s Vision 2022 is bearing fruit with several youngsters enjoying careers overseas.
This could be a huge benefit for Bafana Bafana in the near future.
"Recently, we have had a good number of young players signing for top overseas teams and this will immensely benefit our senior national teams, especially Bafana Bafana," said Technical Director Neil Tovey.
"You cannot take away the importance of our players going overseas. If we are to be world beaters, we have to encourage our good players to play in top European leagues.
"All of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay among other countries' top players are based in Europe and this is something we must encourage our players to do if we are to compete at the very top," added Tovey.
Tovey noted that the success of South Africa's junior teams was a catalyst, which saw overseas clubs take a keen interest.
Amajita secured their ticket to Poland after a victory over Burundi in the on-going CAF U20 Africa Cup of Nations, which subsequently assured them a place in the semi-final - where they will meet Senegal.
Since rolling out the ambitious blueprint programme, SAFA has in the recent past seen a good number of promising players going overseas to further their careers. Some of these players are part of the Amajita squad, who are currently doing duty in Niger.
A total of 35 youngsters under the age of 20 are currently playing regular football in countries such as Portugal, England, Holland, Germany and France.
Reportedly there are more players expected to be exported in the next few years thanks to the Association's vision, which has seen junior teams constantly qualifying for major tournaments globally.
Current SA Under 20 players playing overseas:
- Sphephelo Sithole (19, Central Midfielder) Vitoria Setubal, Portugal
- Nkanyiso Shinga (18, Defender) Vitoria Setubal, Portugal
- Simo Mbhele (20, Attaching Midfielder) Cova Di Piedade, Portugal
- Katlego Mohammed (20, Defender) Sertanense, Portugal
- Sibusiso Shibane (19, Striker) Portugal
- Khaya Leshabela (19 Attackong Midfielder) Leicester City, England
- Siphesihle Mdlalose (19, Striker) Southampton, England
- Tyrique Bartlett (19, Striker) Newcastle, England
- Katlego Mashigo (17, Central Midfielder) Fleetwood Town England
- Keanin Ayer (18, Attacking Midfielder) Verbergs Bols, Sweden
- Jake Aresti (18, Attacking Midfielder) PEC Zwolle, Holland
- Leo Thethani (19, Winger) Ajax Amsterdam, Holland
- Dean Solomons (19, Defender) Ajax Amsterdam, Holland
- Keith Groeneveld (19, Defender) Standard de Liege, Belgium
- Nicola Tavares (19, Defender) Crystal Palace, England
- Bradley Cross (17, Defender) Schalke Germany
- Tashreeq Matthews (19 years) Utrecht, Holland
- Buhle Damane (18 Goalkeeper) Vitoria Setubal player on trial at Benfica, Portugal
- Constantino Christodoulou (16, Goalkeeper) Maritzburg United MDC Captain on trial at Manchester City, England
- Kubamelo Kodisang (19, Winger) CD Sanjoanense, Portugal
- Carlton Ubaezouno (20, Striker) Dundalk, Ireland
- Tlou Tumelo (18, Midfielder) Glasgow Celtics, Scotland
- Lyle Foster (18, Striker) AS Monaco, France
- Mdlalose. (19 years) Southampton England
- Karol. (19.years) USMP, PERU
- Mokone (19 years) Utrecht. Netherlands
- Kodisang.(19 yrs) Sanjoanense
- Luther Singh (21, Striker) SC Braga, Portugal
- Thabo Cele (21, Central Midfielder) Cova Di Piedade, Portugal
- Mihlali Mayambela (22, Winger) SC Farense, Portugal
- Kurt Abrahams (21, Striker) Westerlo Belgium
- Liam Jordan (21, Striker/Winger) HB Koge Denmark
- Sekgotla Kgaogelo (21, Striker) Vitoria Setubal, Portugal
- Tom Barkhuizen. (22. Years, Winger ). Preston, North End England
- Untersee. (24 years) FC Zurich. Switzerland