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African Football

11 South African-born Players Who Represented Other Countries

After Kaizer Chiefs striker Samir Nurkovic recently expressed his interest in playing for Bafana Bafana, here are 11 South Africa-born players who represented other countries at senior level, including a former Copa America winner.

Click through the gallery above to see 11 SA-born players who have represented other countries at senior level.

While Nurkovic could still represent SA but only after he has lived five years in Mzansi, some SA-born footballers made a similar decision and opted to run out for other nations and not their country of birth.

The most famous example is arguably Bruce Grobbelaar, who played for Liverpool between 1981 and 1994 and lifted a European Cup with Reds. The controversial goalkeeper was born in Durban but moved to Rhodesia as a two-month old baby. He represented Rhodesia once but later switched allegiances to Zimbabwe and made 32 appearances for the Warriors.

Mark Gonzalez is another former Liverpool player who was born in South Africa. He grew up in Durban, where his father played professional football for Durban Bush Bucks. However, he left SA aged 10 and moved to Chile with his mother. During his club career, the midfielder played for the likes of Liverpool (between 2006 and 2007), Real Betis and CSKA, while at international level he became a Chile international. He represented the South American nation 56 times, including at the 2010 FIFA World Cup as well as the 2007 and 2016 Copa America, with Chile winning the latter.

Read: 10 Footballers Who Went From Rags To Riches

The most recent player born in Mzansi, but opting to represent another nation is Panagiotis Retsos. The 21-year-old, who is on the books of Bayer Leverkusen, hails from Johannesburg but moved to Greece at the age of one. He represented the European nation at youth levels and made his senior debut in August 2017 – you can see other players who were born in South Africa but represented other countries in the gallery above.

Do you think South Africa would have done better in tournaments had these players opted to play for Bafana? Have your say in the comments section below.

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