COMMENT: Did new AS Monaco striker Lyle Foster leave Orlando Pirates at the right time?

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Goal assesses the highly-rated teenager's transfer to one of Europe's top football clubs

On Wednesday, Orlando Pirates announced the departure of one South African football's most promising youngsters, Lyle Foster.

The teenage striker has secured a dream move one of Europe's elite football clubs, AS Monaco, who are campaigning in the French Ligue 1.

Foster follows in the footsteps of legendary South African players such as Delron Buckley, Quinton Fortune, Benedict 'Benni' McCarthy and Aaron Mokoena, who left the country for European clubs as teenagers.

Lyle Foster of Orlando Pirates

At the age 18, Foster has joined the Red and Whites at the right time with the club having been lauded as Europe's talent factory.

Monaco have been able to identify teenagers with potential and nurture them into world-class players by giving them a platform to showcase their talent in recent years.

Players such as Kylian Mbappe, Nampalys Mendy and Abdou Diallo were developed by Monaco, before being sold for huge profits.

Some may argue that Foster's transfer to the eight-time French champions came too early as has not really played much at the highest level.

Foster, who underwent successful trials at Monaco last year, made only 11 competitive appearances for the Pirates first team after being promoted to the club's first team in September 2017.

Lyle Foster & Lebo Mkhuma, South Africa

His only goal for the four-time Premier Soccer League (PSL) winners came against Polokwane City as a 17-year-old in January 2018, but he was never really given a fair chance.

Despite a lack of regular game time at club level, the forward turned heads on the international stage as he inspired South Africa to the 2018 Cosafa Under-20 Championship title in Zambia.

The former South Africa under-17 international, who signed a long-term deal with Monaco which will expire in June 2023, will begin his career in France with the club's reserve team.

The club has indicated that Foster will play for David Bechkoura's side which is campaigning in the fourth tier of the French football league system, Championnat National Two.

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Lyle Foster PS

Former Paris Saint Germain (PSG) trainer Bechkoura is one of the top coaches in French youth football and he has worked with big names.

Foster will definitely benefit from playing for the 48-year-old tactician's team which will help develop the Soweto-born player into a top quality striker.

This is the same path that was taken by Buckley, Mokoena and Fortune, and they went on to enjoy successful spells in Europe, while becoming key players for South Africa's Bafana Bafana.

It is now up to Foster to make the most of this big opportunity and break into Monaco's first team as soon as possible as he looks to go on to establish himself as one of South Africa's greatest exports.
 

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