By Ian Sadler
Two South African footballers were on target at the weekend helping their clubs at either end of the Danish First Division.
And it was new arrival from Wits University, Josta Dladla, who outshone his more illustrious countryman Sibusiso Zuma, and who lived up to a boast he jokingly made on arrival in Denmark.
Two weeks ago recent Bafana debutant Dladla signed for AGF Aarhus, struggling near the bottom of Denmark's First Division, declaring: "What's all this fuss about Sibusiso Zuma? I'm better than him".
At the weekend both scored.
Zuma's was a great individual effort to put FC Copenhagen one-up early on against Esbjerg, in a match they had to win to stay in touch with league leaders Brondby. The former Orlando Pirates striker beat a defender and as the Esbjerg goalkeeper rushed at him, Zuma calmly chipped the ball over him into the net.
"It was a typical piece of Zuma magic and remarkable considering the extremely wet and cold conditions," said soccer writer Hans Christian Blem who added that Zuma then drifted out of the game that Copenhagen won 3-0.
"It's been happening lately; one minute he's brilliant, the next out of it. He hasn't been that consistent. Zuma only got an average rating of seven out of 13 in my newspaper," said the journalist.
Dladla's goal wasn't as spectacular, although his debut was as he assisted AGF to their first win in more than a month - a thrilling 4-3 victory over Viborg.
"Dladla got a 10 rating - besides the goal he showed his class within five minutes. He has excellent technique and is very quick - he was selected in the paper's team of the week," said Blem. "Dladla is in all the papers here."
"I was joking, saying I'm better than Zuma - in fact I'm a big admirer of Sibusiso," said Dladla. "I was really nervous when I was told I'd be making my debut."
Dladla's introduction into the Aarhus team seems to have lifted everyone at the club. "Aarhus is Denmark's second biggest city, with the country's leading university and a huge port - they've always had a team in the Super league," said Blem.
"To some it would be a tragedy if they went down - now the fans are feeling Dladla can help them survive."
Another report said 22-year-old Dladla - if he can maintain his form of the weekend - could soon be as valuable to Aarhus as Zuma is to Copenhagen.
Following great early-season form for Copenhagen, notably against Lazio in the preliminary stages of the Champions League, Zuma attracted the attention of some big European clubs.
Six months ago Arsenal, Middlesbrough and Borussia Dortmund all had people watching the South African, although nothing materialised and at the beginning of April Zuma said he would stay at Copenhagen for another season.
"That was the suggestion of Zuma's agents," said Blem. "They said other clubs wanted Zuma, but he would stay on if Copenhagen offered a pay rise - there has never been any concrete offer for the player."
Copenhagen would love Zuma, one of the most popular footballers in Denmark, to see out the last season of his contract, but above all they must be hoping he regains his touch of a year ago.
In the penultimate game of last season Zuma scored a wonderful goal - an overhead shot voted the strike of the season - against Copenhagen's big rivals Brondby. Zuma's team won the match and went on the take the championship.
With four games of the season to go Brondly lead the league, two points ahead of Copenhagen who this weekend meet Dladla's Aarhus. It will be a big match for the South Africans, especially Dladla, though the game most Danish fans are waiting for is the Copenhagen-Brondby clash scheduled for May 12.
"All 41 000 tickets are already sold, and it looks as though the winner of that game will take the championship," said Blem.