Benni, Pienaar, Parker and The Overseas Stars To Return To Mzansi
Looking back at the best players to return from abroad
With the likes of Steven Pienaar and Daylon Claasen making their returns to the PSL, we take a look at the players who’ve returned to their roots and how their returns panned out.
Both Pienaar and Claasen began their careers at Ajax Cape Town, before moving on to Ajax Amsterdam and moving to Borussia Dortmund and Lierse respectively. Pienaar went on to play in the English Premier League, ending up at Sunderland and after seeing his contract expire, is now back in South Africa to play for the reigning league champions. Claasen also joined The Students after signing a contract upon the expiry of his deal with 1860 Munich.
Click through the images above to see our list of the players that made their returns to the PSL after playing abroad.
However, their return to their home country is not an uncommon trend with the likes of Benni McCarthy, Shaun Bartlett, Bernard Parker, Aaron Mokoena and a number of other stars from abroad returning to achieve success or otherwise. Examples of these players are as follows:
After spells with the likes of Ajax Amsterdam, Celta Vigo, FC Porto, Blackburn Rovers and West Ham, the Champions League-winning striker joined Orlando Pirates in 2011, where he made 31 league appearances, scoring 10 goals and making five assists in two seasons and won a treble.
A graduate of the Transnet School of Excellence, Parker rose to prominence at Benoni Premier United (now Thanda Royal Zulu) before joining Red Star Belgrade in 2009. He went on to win the Dutch Eredivisie with FC Twente and returned to Kaizer Chiefs in 2011. In 157 league appearances for the club, he has scored 39 goals and made 25 assists and has won the Absa Premiership twice, while winning a Nedbank Cup and the PSL Golden Boot in the process.
The current University of Pretoria manager earned his stripes at Cape Town Spurs in the 90s, before moving to the MLS in the United States and eventually joining FC Zurich in Switzerland, where he won the Swiss Cup. He then became a fixture at English Premier League side Charlton Athletic for six years, before joining Kaizer Chiefs in 2006, where he won the Telkom Knockout and the MTN8, scoring 12 goals and making one assist in 44 league appearances. He saw out his playing days as a Bloemfontein Celtic player, but only made eight league appearances for Siwelele.
The defensive midfielder rose to prominence at Golden Arrows and earned a move to Fulham in the Premier League. Spells at Crystal Palace and Cardiff followed but, unfortunately, he will not be looking back fondly on his spell in Britain and was eventually released by Cardiff before making his return to Arrows. He made 10 league appearances for Clinton Larsen’s team, scoring one goal.
The most capped footballer in Bafana Bafana’s history joined Bayer Leverkusen from Jomo Cosmos back in 1998 as a 17-year-old. Spells at Ajax Amsterdam and Genk preceded a seven-year spell in England with Blackburn Rovers and Portsmouth, where he racked up 124 Premier League appearances. In 2012, he returned to South Africa, signing with Bidvest Wits, where he made 14 appearances before hanging up his boots a year later.
Matthew Booth - Krylya Sovetov Samara (Russia) to Mamelodi Sundowns
Mark Fish - Charlton Athletic (England) to Jomo Cosmos
Tsepo Masilela – Maccabi Haifa (Israel) to Kaizer Chiefs
Bryce Moon – Panathinaikos (Greece) to SuperSport United
Bongani Khumalo – Tottenham Hotspur (England) to SuperSport United
What returning players do you think were the most successful when they came back to South Africa?