Goal looks at South Africa’s upcoming players and compare them to the standard required to make the Goal 50 list in future, to feature among the best player in the world
There are a number of young, talented South African players, but they are nowhere near representing the best clubs in the world to make the Goal 50 best players in the world. Our developing talent needs to improve step by step, by first earning their marks as Steven Pienaar and Benni McCarthy previously did in the better European leagues.
However, these players have a long way to go and they will need to achieve at both club level and national level to be counted amongst the best.
It is no secret that players like Ajax Amsterdam’s midfielder Thulani Serero, Helsingborgs’ May Mahlangu and PSL-based SuperSport United goalkeeper Ronwen Williams, all have the potential to play anywhere in the world.
But what is it that these young talented players need to do in order to be in Goal50 in future?
Ajax Amsterdam and Bafana midfielder - Thulani Serero
At 23, Serero has already competed against European football powerhouses; Manchester United and Real Madrid in the Uefa Champions League.
This is something most South African footballers have wished to achieve, but Serero will have to do a lot more than just playing against big guns.
He hasn’t been a regular since joining Ajax in 2011, but his skill and ability to dribble past defenders have contributed towards his stay at the club.
Serero will also need to improve his game at national team level after he failed to shine during the recent 2013 Afcon tournament in South Africa.
Perhaps if Bafana coach Gordon Igesund can be patient with him to settle into the team, then Serero might eventually find his touch and reach his potential in the national team.
He is the kind of player South African fans would expect to play a huge role for Bafana in the 2015 and 2017 Afcon tournaments as well as in the 2018 Fifa World Cup.
Helsingborgs and Bafana midfielder - May Mahlangu
The 24-year-old Mahlangu has been a star in the Swedish Premier League for the past two seasons or so, and his brilliant performance has made him a regular in the Bafana squad.
His career highlight has to go back to 2011 when he walked away with Player of the Season award after helping Helsingborgs IF to Allsvenskan (league title), Svenska Cupen and Supercupen.
Mahlangu has been linked with several European clubs, but nothing concrete has come out of those rumours.
However, Mahlangu would need to help his team become the force in European football as they often fell behind in the Uefa Champions League and therefore had to settle for a spot in the Europe League.
Perhaps, his best option is to move to another European league like the Bundesliga in Germany, if their style of football suites him better.
The German league helped Steven Pienaar improve his game and he later moved to England to join Everton.
The Mpumalanga-born maestro had a fantastic 2013 Afcon tournament and hugely contributed towards Bafana’s quarterfinal success.
SuperSport United goalkeeper - Ronwen Williams
The young goalkeeper has been a pillar of strength in the SuperSport United defence for the past three seasons and he has won several individual awards including the Young Player of the Year award last season.
Williams has been earmarked as the future Bafana goalkeeper although he might find it hard to break into the Bafana starting eleven as yet.
The 21-year-old shot-stopper has gained a lot of experience over the years, as SuperSport United have done well in almost every competition since he came in.
He has always been the difference between the sticks, and his performances in the Caf Confederations Cup have made him one of the best prospects in the country.
Of course, he will be overshadowed by the presence of Itumeleng Khune, but he is definitely not far off and the Bafana captain can expect a challenge from Williams.
He will need to work a lot harder to be in the Bafana squad, and also help Matsatsantsa win the league title and at least a trophy or two to make it in the top 50 list.
KV Kortrijk goalkeeper - Darren Keet
The 23-year-old Keet has been playing in Belgium for the past two seasons, and although he did not get enough game time during his first season at KV Kortrijk, he improved his game last season.
He has been consistent this past season for Kortrijk in the Belgian Pro League, and his club rewarded him with the Player of the Season award for his efforts.
However, he will need to cement his place in the Kortrijk’s starting line-up in the next few seasons, and force his way into the Bafana squad as we approach the 2015 Afcon.
Keet has got the opportunity to compete in European competitions, and he could get the attention of bigger clubs should he do well in those competitions.