Part 3: The top Bafana Bafana players
CAPE TOWN – Not many South Africans have played regularly and made an impact in some of Europe’s biggest leagues, but in today’s list, we have a number of stars who have done just that.
In today’s Part 3 of our Top 50 Bafana Bafana players, we have the only South African with a Premier League winners’ medal, including a number of others who had a lasting impact on the world’s most popular domestic competition.
Most of the players named today are former players, but we have one who is a part of the current crop and who could go on to become one of the greatest players this country has ever produced.
Part 3: These are the 10 players who come in at 30 to 21 (below)
30. Kagisho Dikgacoi (54 caps)
Kagisho Dikgacoi was an underrated hard-tackling central midfielder who bossed the middle of the park during the six years he spent in the national team. He was plucked out of Golden Arrows by Mark Hughes’ Fulham in 2009, but it was for Cardiff where he played his best football in the English Premier League.
29. Percy Tau (24 caps)
The 25-year-old Percy Tau is currently the best player in Molefi Ntseki’s team, able to create chances out of thin air. His calmness on the ball is impressive, and his ability to find the back of the net from anywhere in the box makes him South Africa’s most dangerous player in a long time. Whether he lives up to his potential and becomes one of this country’s greatest ever players and leads us to glory remains to be seen. The signs are promising.
28. Quinton Fortune (46 caps)
Quinton Fortune is currently, the only South African to win an English Premier League title, and was Manchester United’s next best thing on the left-hand side of the park next to Ryan Giggs. He was instrumental in South Africa coming from 2-0 down to draw their opening game at the 2002 World Cup against Paraguay, where he had a decent tournament. He also provided the pass that saw Siyabonga Nomvethe score the winner during their game against Slovenia at that World Cup. But there were times when he let the team down and refused to play, which is the reason he doesn’t feature higher up.
27. Mark Williams (23 caps)
Who can forget Mark Williams’ brace in the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations final that saw South Africa win their first and only international title? He finished that tournament with an impressive haul of four goals, finishing in joint second with John Moshoeu behind Zambia’s Kalusha Bwalya. He only played 23 times for the national team, but that was when the country had strikers like Philemon Masinga, Shaun Bartlett, and a young Benni McCarthy.
26. Rowen Fernandez (23 caps)
For a while, Rowen Fernandez had the inside lane to the 2010 World Cup. He was one of the best goalkeepers the country had, but his time in the Bundesliga didn’t do him very good as he spent his four seasons in Germany mainly on the bench for Arminia Bielefeld, where he worked with current Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp for a while. Between 2006 and 2009, he was the country’s undisputed number one.
25. Thabo Mngomeni (37 caps)
The Cape Town-born Thabo Mngomeni was a classy midfielder whose high work rate was second to none in the late 90s and early 2000s. An argument could be made that the 2002 national team was the best this country has ever had, and that was helped by Mngomeni’s dominant performances in the heart of midfield alongside the likes of Macbeth Sibaya, Quinton Fortune and Sibusiso Zuma.
24. Reneilwe Letsholonyane (50 caps)
Affectionately known as “Yeye” or “Beyonce”, Reneilwe Letsholonyane was one of the most important players in the national team. Able to play as either a defensive, central or attacking midfielder, Letsholonyane linked up well with Kaizer Chiefs team-mate Simphiwe Tshabalala.
23. Delron Buckley (73 caps)
The Durbanite was one of a few players who provided some healthy competition for Bafana Bafana’s left-wing between 1998 and 2012. Once Helman Mkhalele’s time in the national team ended, Buckley made the role his own and was helped by Quinton Fortune’s self-imposed exile. He was a reliable player down the wing and went on to play for some of Germany’s biggest clubs such as Arminia Bielefeld and Borussia Dortmund before ending his career in the KZN Midlands. In 2014.
22. Eric Tinkler (45 caps)
Johannesburg-born Eric Tinkler was a mainstay in the Bafana Bafana side during its most successful period. He formed an impressive partnership in the middle of the park with the likes of John Moshoeu and Doctor Khumalo as they romped to the Afcon title in 1996.
21. David Nyathi (45 caps)
South African football will probably never see a fullback as classy as David Nyathi. He was arguably one of the best right backs on the continent during his career, which took him abroad to countries such as Switzerland, Spain, Turkey and Italy. He was solid in defence, and handy when going forward, able to whip in crosses that often ended up in the back of the net.@KingBiyela