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Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates & Mamelodi Sundowns' returning international stars: Hit or miss?

7:29 AM GMT 19/10/2022
Keagan Dolly kaizer Chiefs
While some South African footballers have returned to the PSL from abroad in their prime, others have come back later for a final swansong

The likes of Mamelodi Sundowns' Andile Jali, Keagan Dolly of Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates striker Kermit Erasmus are among the more recent returnees from Europe.

Long gone it seems are the days when some of SA's best footballers turned out in the biggest leagues in the world - as was the case with the likes of Benni McCarty, Lucas Radebe, Phil Masinga, Mark Fish, Shaun Bartlett, Aaron Mokoena and Steven Pienaar.

In more recent times, it's been some of the relatively smaller European leagues, including Belgium, France and the Scandinavian countries, where PSL players have taken the next step.

On their return home to the PSL, they've been met with different levels of success.

  • Andile Jali, Mamelodi Sundowns, August 2022

    Andile Jali: Hit

    After leaving Orlando Pirates for KV Oostende in Belgium, Jali returned to South Africa in 2018 and has been a mainstay in the Sundowns midfield ever since.

  • Bradley Ralani, Mamelodi Sundowns, December 2021

    Bradley Ralani: Hit

    The winger has starred for both Cape Town City and now Mamelodi Sundowns since returning from his decade-long stay in Sweden and Norway.

  • Bongani Zungu, Mamelodi Sundowns, October 2022

    Bongani Zungu: Verdict still out

    Zungu's time with Sundowns has not started well. But to be fair, he's still trying to find full fitness and could still be a hit by end of his Downs stay.

  • Keagan Dolly, GOAL

    Keagan Dolly: Hit

    Dolly's time with Montpellier was not really a success. But he was in fine form for Chiefs last season and forced his way back into the Bafana Bafana squad as well. He's got 11 goals and six assists already for Amakhosi and there will be quite a bit still to come.

  • Molefi Ntseki Bernard Parker and Stuart Baxter

    Bernard Parker: Hit

    Parker was a league winner in Holland with FC Twente, though he did not play much in his second season. On his return home the former Thanda Royal Zulu marksman went on to earn legendary status with Kaizer Chiefs.

  • Kermit Erasmus, Orlando Pirates, September 2022

    Kermit Erasmus: Verdict still out

    Erasmus had a mixed time of things in Europe and then did well for Cape Town City on returning home. He struggled at Sundowns, partly through injury, but may well redeem himself since joining up with former team Orlando Pirates.

  • Aaron Mokoena and Didier Drogba

    Aaron Mokoena: Miss

    Did okay with Bidvest Wits at the end of his brilliant career, but his best years were in Europe, including Ajax, Genk, Blackburn Rovers and Portsmouth.

  • Benni McCarthy Porto 2004

    Benni McCarthy: Hit

    The Uefa Champions League winner and Manchester United coach had one especially good season with Orlando Pirates after departing West Ham.

  • Lehlohonolo Majoro & Tsepo Masilela

    Tsepo Masilela: Miss

    Injuries saw Masilela failing to make much of an impact in his second spell with Chiefs, having returned to the club from Getafe in the Spanish top-flight as well as Maccabi Haifa of Israel.

  • Mbulelo Mabizela

    Mbulelo Mabizela: Miss

    Sundowns had been hoping to revive Mabizela's career after his struggles with Tottenham Hotspur, but the former Bafana Bafana defender was on too much of a downward spiral.

  • Steven Pienaar, Everton.

    Steven Pienaar: Miss

    After a brilliant career with Borussia Dortmund, Ajax and Everton, Pienaar's time at Bidvest Wits was underwhelming.

  • Sibusiso Zuma - Arminia Bielefeld

    Sibusiso Zuma: Miss

    After making his name at Pirates, Zuma went on to achieve hero status with FC Copenhagen. He failed to spark with Mamelodi Sundowns on his return to the PSL, did okay with SuperSport and Vasco da Gama, but never reached any great heights in his final seasons.

  • Tokelo Rantie of Bournemouth

    Tokelo Rantie: Miss

    Once an Orlando Pirates star, Rantie went on to play in England's Premier League with Bournemouth. But since returning home his wayward ways meant his career has fizzled out.

  • Ayanda Patosi of Cape Town City scores against Bidvest Wits

    Ayanda Patosi: Hit

    Patosi excelled for Cape Town City after joining from Belgian side KSC Lokeren. He now plays for Foolad in the Persian Gulf League.

  • Bongani Khumalo | Tottenham

    Bongani Khumalo: Hit

    After starring for SuperSport, Khumalo signed for Tottenham Hotspur and went on to enjoy loan spells in the lower divisions in England as well as playing in Greece. Back in South Africa, he gave great service to Bidvest Wits and then SuperSport before retiring.

  • Benedict Vilakazi.

    Benedict Vilakazi: Miss

    Fantastic in his first spell with Pirates, the Little Napoleon slid to obscurity after returning to the PSL from Denmark side AaB Aalborg.