Hardwood timber 01 July 2023 – 14:38 By SITHEMBISO DINDI

Support independent journalism. Subscribe to our digital news package for R80 p/m.

Kaizer Chiefs player Samkelo Zwane during the DStv Premiership match against SuperSport United at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on May 13, 2023.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

The recently ended Premier Soccer League (PSL) season saw several youngsters shine in the big time and show potential for future stardom.   

Some of them played significant roles in helping their clubs to reach their goals for the season while others have done enough to attract interest from other local clubs.   

In South Africa, a lot has been said about the need to export players to Europe at an early age but that has been just a dream so far.   

TimesLIVE looks at players that need to play their last season in the PSL in the upcoming campaign and move overseas.   

Samkelo Zwane — Kaizer Chiefs

The 21-year-old Zwane broke into Amakhosi’s senior team last season and went on to become one of the key members in the team’s midfield.

The son of former Jomo Cosmos and Orlando Pirates player Eugene Zwane played like a seasoned campaigner, always involved in both defence and attack for the club.

He is already in the national team set-up, having been part of the South Africa U23 side. A move overseas early in his career could help him become a top player.

Cassius Mailula — Mamelodi Sundowns

Cassius Mailula of Mamelodi Sundowns celebrate the goal during the DStv Premiership match against Stellenbosch FC at Danie Craven Stadium on March 05, 2023.
Image: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

Mailula was a key figure in Sundowns’ DStv Premiership success and in the club’s good Caf Champions League run that saw them being knocked out of the semifinals.

The 22-year-old finished the season with nine league goals, scoring four in the Champions League, excluding the two he scored in the second-round stage.

His exploits saw the youngster being roped into the Bafana Bafana set-up by coach Hugo Broos who is hard to impress.

Mailula walked away with the DStv Premiership Young Player of the Season award at the end of the previous campaign, and it comes as no surprise that there are reports of interest in him from European clubs.

If it doesn’t happen in the current transfer window, Mailula really needs to push to leave South Africa next year to take his game to another level.

Yanela Mbuthuma — Richards Bay FC

Yanela Mbuthuma of Richards Bay during the DStv Premiership match against Sekhukhune United at Peter Mokaba Stadium on February 18, 2023.
Image: Philip Maeta/Gallo Images

Mbuthuma, 21, is one of the bright prospects in local football and made 25 appearances, mostly from the bench for the Natal Rich Boyz last season in all competitions.

He needs to push for more time on the field next season and an overseas move can push the young forward towards the Bafana set-up in the next few years.

Mbuthuma was part of the SA U23 squad that failed to qualify for the 2023 U23 Africa Cup of Nations.

Thapelo Maseko — SuperSport United

SuperSport United midfielder Thapelo Maseko has been a revelation this season.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

The 20-year-old SuperSport Academy graduate was one of the key figures that steered the Gavin Hunt-coached side to a third-place finish in the DStv Premiership.

Maseko is set to gain crucial experience playing in the Caf Confederation Cup next season.

The sooner he leaves South African shores, the better for his development as a footballer and it may help him cement his place in Bafana.

Relebohile Ratomo — Orlando Pirates

Orlando Pirates’ Relebohile Ratomo celebrates goal with teammates during the DStv Premiership 2022/23 match against AmaZulu FC on 20 May 2023 at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Ratomo has only played two matches against Royal AM and AmaZulu FC after he broke into the senior team late last season.

However, the 18-year-old forward excelled in those two league games and a lot will be expected from him next season.

Ratomo already has a goal and assist next to his name and if he continues to grab all his chances with both hands, offers from overseas will come.

He has what it takes to follow in the footsteps of Lyle Foster who left Pirates as a teenager for a big move to AS Monaco of France in 2019. Foster is now on the books of English Premier League club Burnley.

Olwethu Makhanya — Stellenbosch FC

Olwethu Makhanya of Stellenbosch FC.
Image: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

The fact that at the age of 19, centre back Makhanya played 24 games for Stellies in all competitions tells a story of how good he is.

Makhanya is one of the brave defenders in the league and has dealt with some of the PSL’s deadly and feared attackers like an old pro. He was named the Nedbank Cup Most Promising Player last season after his team got knocked out in the semis.

The young defender has made his intention to play overseas known and will prioritise it over a local one.

Antonio van Wyk — Stellenbosch FC

Antonio Van Wyk of South Africa during the U23 Africa Cup of Nations, Qualifier match between South Africa and Congo Brazzaville at Donsonville Stadium on March 23.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Van Wyk, 21, was linked with a move to Belgium ahead of the recently finished season, but it didn’t happen.

The youngster has continued to shine, playing a role in helping Stellies secure a top eight finish in the DStv Premiership.

It won’t be long before he moves to Europe because of his good talent, supported by his versatility as the wing can play on either side of the field.   

Other players to watch out for in the upcoming season are Chiefs’ Mduduzi Shabalala, Sundowns’ Siyabonga Mabena and Devin Titus of Stellies and Aphelele Teto of TS Galaxy.

Support independent journalism by subscribing to the Sunday Times. Just R20 for the first month.

MORE: Support independent journalism. Subscribe to our digital news package for R80 p/m.

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!