Ex-Kaizer Chiefs star reveals what Benni McCarthy & co had that current South African players lack

Benni McCarthy, Manchester United, July 2022https://twitter.com/ManUtd
  • Fredricks believes SA need to have more players abroad
  • Ex-Chiefs star feels the only route is junior national teams
  • 44-year-old said scouts identify budding talent at such level

WHAT HAPPENED? Fredericks believes South African players are missing out on clubs overseas because they do not turn out regularly for junior national teams.

The former Bafana Bafana star used himself and the country’s all-time leading scorer Benni McCarthy as examples of players who benefited greatly from featuring in junior teams to seal transfers abroad at a young age, something he feels is lacking from the current generation.

South Africa has over 50 players overseas but a big number feature in the lower leagues with only Strasbourg’s Lebo Mothiba playing in one of the five major European leagues. The likes of Lyle Foster and Njabulo Blom participate in the English second tier and MLS respectively.

However, Former Grasshopper and FC Moscow star Fredricks, who played at a time South Africa was regularly shipping out players to major league, feels the number should be bigger but only if junior national teams churn out such talents.

WHAT DID HE SAY? “There’s something lacking, and we had it,” Fredericks said as quoted by FARPost. “When I say we, it’s myself, Benni McCarthy and that generation. I played for the U20 and U23 national teams. That opportunity for playing for junior national teams, it’s where you get scouted internationally.

“I really believe junior international teams is the opportunity for players to do that. I was a bit fortunate at the junior national team and I was given the opportunity to go to my first overseas club in Switzerland. That was because of the national team.

“That’s where the agent can come in and represent you on international level. But going from playing for a smaller team in South Africa to Europe, it’s not easy.”

THE BIGGIER PICTURE: Fredricks’ sentiments come just days after Al Ahli coach Pitso Mosimane said South African players have settled for less by getting comfortable playing at home when they should be earning much more abroad.

Mosimame believes Bafana Bafana would be a stronger team had it been composed of many players featuring abroad as the experience of playing in high-pressure situations is needed in the national team.

Foster, Percy Tau, Siyanda Xulu, Luke Le Roux, Sphephelo Sithole, Mihlali Mayambela and Bongokuhle Hlongwane are currently the foreign-based players in camp for Bafana Bafana for their 2023 Afcon qualifiers and five of them made it to Friday’s starting XI for the 2-2 draw with Liberia.

WHAT’S NEXT? A number of South African players, including Mamelodi Sundowns youngster Cassius Mailula, have been linked with transfers abroad and it will be interesting to see how many will make it in the summer transfer window.

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