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Tinkler On The Decline Of SA Players In England

The Premier League has officially begun and, this season, there is a noticeable amount of absentees from South Africa plying their trade in one of Europe's top divisions. But what is the reason behind this? Eric Tinkler gives us his thoughts…

Back in the 1990s, the league featured a host of footballers from Mzansi, including Lucas Radebe, Mark Fish, Shaun Bartlett, Andre Arendse and many more, but, this season, there is a strong possibility there will be no South Africans on display.  

Steven Pienaar's future is still very much uncertain, while Tokelo Rantie has been frozen out at Bournemouth and is said to be on the lookout for a new team. 

Former Barnsley midfielder and current Cape Town City coach Eric Tinkler chatted to Fan Park editor Rossella Marrai-Ricco about the decline of South African exports to England.

"Why are fewer South African players playing in England? That is actually a very difficult one to answer," the 46-year-old said.

"I think playing in England now is not very easy, particularly when our national team is not doing very well.

"I think, if you go back to when I was playing there with Mark (Fish), Lucas (Radebe), Quinton (Fortune) and Benni (McCarthy), our national team was pretty successful at the time. Because of that, it was obviously easier for us to be spotted and to be seen as good players to playing in the English Premier League.

"When your national team is not performing at the highest standard, you don't see those players playing in the best leagues in the world. That is the harsh reality.

"Our national team has to perform far better than they currently are if you want to see South African players playing in the best leagues in the world.

"We know we have talent in this country, but the harsh reality is, when it comes to scouting, and when the name of a South African player is mentioned, I don't think many people take it seriously compared to 15 years ago.

"We do have some talented footballers in our country; unfortunately, the standard of our football hasn't improved, particularly at national level. It makes it far more difficult for those players to go across."

Which player do you think could be the next South African to move across to England?

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