10 Of The Best South African Footballers Ever

South African football took a long time before it got off the ground, this is no thanks to the apartheid which saw South Africa banned from a lot of sports events on the international scene, football inclusive.

However, these didn’t stop them from winning their first Africa Cup of Nations title and participating in the FIFA World Cup shortly after the ban was lifted.

Also, they’ve managed to build local football as the local League the Premier Soccer League in South Africa attracts some of the best from across Africa. South Africa also hosted the first FIFA World Cup on the continent in 2010.

The inclusion of numerous of South African’s illustrious “Nation Builders” from 1996 is not surprising given that we took into consideration of caps, popularity, impact, honors, and ability when compiling this of greatest South African Footballers.

10 Of The Greatest South African Footballers

 

  • Mark Fish ( 1993–2004, Cap : 62 Goals : 2, Clubs : 7 )

10 Of The Best South African Footballers Ever

Mark Fish was a South African defender who won every single medal available in the Africa Cup of Nations.

He was a part of the team that won AFCON 1998, Second-placed in 2000, and a third-place finish in 2002. He amassed 62 appearances for the Bafana Bafana in total.

  • Doctor Khumalo (1992–2001 Cap: 50, Goals : 9, Clubs: 4 )

10 Of The Best South African Footballers Ever

Doctor Khumalo is one of the big players that led South Africa to their first-ever CAF AFCON win in their history in 1998.

Khumalo debuted for the South African national team in 1992 and retired with 50 caps in 2001. He played over 390 games for Kaizers Chiefs during his club career.

  • Patrick Ntsoelengoe (1977, Caps : 1 Goals : 0, Clubs: 6 )

10 Of The Best South African Footballers Ever

Patrick Ntsoelengoe is often considered one of the best players from Africa to have never gained prominence and respect.

Highly regarded as a player that could have stood among the best around his generation and even the present day, Patrick couldn’t amass international caps for South Africa as the country was banned for apartheid during his playing days.

Sadly, he made a single appearance for South Africa although he is a legend for Kaizers Chiefs before playing in the MLS.

  • Neil Tovey (1992–1997 Cap: 52, Goals : 0, Clubs: 3 )

10 Of The Best South African Footballers Ever

Neil Tovey is South Africa’s first AFCON winning skipper when they went on to win the title in 1996. He played for South Africa between 1992 and 1997 with 52 appearances while he also holds the record for the most appearances in the National Soccer League.

The central defender played for Durban City, Amazulu, and Kaizers Chiefs during his days amassing 634 appearances.

  • Ithumeleng Khune (2008 – present Cap: 94, Goals : 0, Clubs: 1  )

10 Of The Best South African Footballers Ever

Goalkeeper Ithumeleng Khune deserves a spot on this list on the basis of his brilliant goalkeeping performances over the years for South Africa.

He played at the 2010 FIFA World Cup hosted by the country as well as the 2013 AFCON. He made his Bafana Bafana debut in 2008 and has made over 90 appearances for the national team since then.

Khune is the captain of the South African national team and Kaizers Chiefs.

  • Siphiwe Tshabalala ( 2006–2017 Cap: 90, Goals : 12, Clubs: 7)
10 Of The Best South African Footballers Ever
 Siphiwe Tshabalala of South Africa celebrates scoring the first goal during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City Stadium on June 11, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

When you hear the name Tsiphiwe Tshabalala, you remember his stunning opening goal of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

His goal was the first of the tournament. However beyond that, the forward is South Africa’s second record appearance holder with 90 caps. He is also one of the most successful South African players having started his national team career while still in the second division of professional football in the country.

He made his national team debut in 2006 when he was still playing for free state stars went on to have 12 goals in total and also played for Kaizers Chiefs where he had over 250 appearances.

  • Stephen Pienaar ( 2002–2012 Cap: 61, Goals : 3 , Clubs: 7 )

10 Of The Best South African Footballers Ever

One of the best-attacking players that the South has seen, the forward debuted with the national team in 2002 and retired ten years later with 61 games and three goals in total.

He played for Ajax at the club level, Borussia Dortmund, Everton, and Tottenham amongst other clubs in Europe. He may not have the biggest portfolio but he will be fondly remembered as one of the best to come from South Africa.

  • Aaron Mokoena (1999–2010 Cap: 107, Goals : 1, Clubs: 7 )
10 Of The Best South African Footballers Ever
 Aaron Mokoena captain of South Africa urges his players on during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between France and South Africa at the Free State Stadium on June 22, 2010 in Mangaung/Bloemfontein, South Africa. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Mokoena may have just a single goal for the Bafana Bafana but the Defensive Midfielder also known as “The Axe” is still the youngest player to have played for South Africa. He made his Bafana Bafana debut in 1999 as a nineteen-year-old and went on to become the record appearance holder for the South Africans.

He captained the country in the latter parts of his career including the African Cup of Nations in 2008 and the World Cup they hosted in 2010. He played for multiple clubs in Europe including Ajax, Genk, Blackburn, and Portsmouth.

Mark Fish was a South African defender who won every single medal available in the Africa Cup of Nations. He was a part of the team that won AFCON 1998, Second-placed in 2000, and a third-place finish in 2002.

He amassed 62 appearances for the Bafana Bafana in total.

  • Lukas Radebe (1992–2003 Cap: 70, Goals : 2, Clubs: 2 )

10 Of The Best South African Footballers Ever

Lucas Radebe played for South Africa between 1992 and 2003 and subsequently was part of the first South African team to win the Africa Cup of Nations in 1996.

During this period, the center back who earned the nickname “The Chief”, played a total of 70 games of the Bafana Bafana.

At the club level, he had a trophy-laden five years with Kaizers Chiefs winning three Premier Soccer League titles before moving to the Premier League with Leeds United.

He still remains one of the best defenders to have played for South Africa.

  • Benni McCarthy (1997–2012 Cap: 79, Goals : 31, Clubs: 8 )
10 Of The Best South African Footballers Ever
Benni McCarthy of South Africa reacts during the International Friendly match between South Africa and Jamaica at Vodacom Park on November 17, 2009 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. (Photo by Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Benni McCarthy is arguably South Africa’s most prominent footballer of all time the forward played in the Netherlands, England, Portugal, and Spain.

He played for Ajax, West Ham United, Porto, and Celta Vigo in those countries. With the Bafana Bafana of South Africa, he had 79 appearances and 31 goals between 1997 and 2012.

Within that period, he played in the 1998 and 2002 editions of the FIFA World Cup and the 2002 edition. He finished as the joint top scorer and the most valuable player of the 1998 Africa Cup of Nations which South Africa came second behind Egypt.

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “10 Of The Best South African Footballers Ever”

Leave a Reply