Only five players of Bafana Bafana’s 23-man African Cup of Nations squad play in Europe, while AFCON winners Ivory Coast had only one local player in their squad.
Darren Keet, Anele Ngcongca, Andile Jali, Dean Furman and Tokelo Rantie were South Africa’s only players who ply their trade overseas.
However, the Ivory Coast’s 23-man squad has an impressive 21 stars playing overseas, while only two players still play in Africa (one in the Ivorian league).
What’s making the Ivory Coast squad even more impressive is that 16 out of their 23 players play in Europe’s top five leagues.
Unfortunately, none of our stars overseas has reached this level yet.
While the Ivory Coast featured stars like Yaya Toure and Gervinho, who write the headlines in England and Italy, South Africa’s best overseas based players only feature in arguably weaker European leagues.
Even Ghana’s squad which finished second in the tournament still had 17 out 23 players who play outside of Africa and eight of them in Europe’s top leagues.
It is often said that the Premier Soccer League is the strongest in Africa, but why don’t more of our star players make the step into Europe?
Are we complacent, are PSL’s top stars earning too much to make the bold step out of their comfort zone – why do other African players succeed in Europe and ours struggle?
The European Club Association had published a study with information about the 2015 AFCON, revealing that as many as 67 percent of all players in the tournament play in Europe.
Now, Bafana had only 22 percent of it’s players from overseas-based leagues. Could this be the reason for our failure? Comment in the section below…