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8 Remarkable South African Footballers Who Played in England


South Africa has produced countless footballers who’ve played in the biggest leagues in the world. One of those leagues is the English Premier League.

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The country, through its Pan-African broadcaster MultiChoice, has the right to showcase the league across Africa. In this article, we’ll tell you about the South African footballers who’ve played in England.

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Bongani Khumalo – Tottenham Hotspur

The former South African footballer was an integral player in Ama Tuks and SuperSport United. He made a combined 131 appearances and scored 12 goals. In 2011, the centre-back joined Tottenham Hotspur but had an uneventful spell. 

Throughout his four years, from 2011 to 2015, he didn’t make any appearances for the club. Instead, Khumalo was loaned to:

After that, Khumalo returned to SuperSport United.

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Benni McCarthy – Blackburn Rovers, Westham United

One of South Africa’s best footballers, Benni McCarthy, played for Blackburn and Westham. He arrived in 2006 after a successful time on Portuguese side Porto. At Blackburn, McCarthy played 109 between 2006 and 2010. 

From there, the forward joined Westham United, but his contract was terminated after a year. McCarthy returned to South Africa and joined the Orlando Pirates.

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Kagisho Dikgacoi – Fulham, Crystal Palace

By the time Kagisho joined Fulham, he was one of the best players in South Africa. He was the captain of the Golden Arrows, played 82 games, and scored eight goals before he moved to Craven Cottage in 2009.

The midfielder played 14 games. On his debut, Kagisho was sent off after he slapped Scott Parker. In his last season at Fulham, he was loaned out to Crystal Palace and later signed with them. 

At Eagles, Kagisho enjoyed more action as he played 92 games. After three years, the midfielder moved again. This time, he joined Cardiff City, played 25 games, and left in 2016 for Golden Arrows. 

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Lyle Brent Foster – Burnley

Lyle Foster signed a four-and-a-half-year contract for Burnley in 2023. The promoted side bought him from the Belgian side Westerlo for £11 million. It’s the first club he’s playing for in England. 

The forward started his career in South African club Orlando Pirates. He played for the club until 2019 when he moved to the French club Monaco. He then went to Portugal and returned to Belgium until his latest move.

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Lucas Radebe – Leeds United

Lucas Radebe spent a large part of his career at South African club Kaizer Chiefs. After five years (1989 to 1994), having made 113 appearances, Radebe moved to Leeds United. He represented the club between 1994 and 2005 and played 201 games.

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Matty Pattison – Newcastle United

Matty Pattison was born in South Africa but moved to England when he was 11 years old. At 14, Pattison joined the Newcastle Youth Academy, where he played between 2000 and 2005. 

He was promoted to the senior side and made his debut in 2006 against Everton. The midfielder played 10 games before being sent to Norwich on loan in 2008. After a year, Pattison returned to South Africa and joined Mamelodi Sundowns. 

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Percy Tau – Brighton & Hove Albion

Percy Tau had an underwhelming stint at Brighton & Hove Albion. He played for them between 2018 and 2021, making only three appearances. He arrived in England from South African club Mamelodi Sundown. Tau had three loan spells in Belgian at Union SG, Club Brugge and Anderlecht. Currently, the forward plays for the Egyptian club Al Ahly

Steven Pienaar –  Everton, Tottenham Hotspur, Sunderland

Pienaar spent his youth career at European clubs; Westham Westbury and Westbury Arsenal and Ajax’ School of Excellence. The winger cum attacking midfielder started his senior career in South Africa before he moved to Everton on loan in 2007. At the time, Pienaar was signed by German side Borussia Dortmund.

In 2008, Everton permanently signed Pienaar. He played 76 games and scored 10 goals. His next stop was Tottenham Hotspur, but his one year there wasn’t as good. He went back to Everton on loan and resigned from them in 2012. After four years, Pienaar played for Sunderland before he returned to South Africa. 

Tokelo Rantie – Bournemouth

In 2013, Tokelo Rantie joined Bournemouth who reportedly signed him for £2.5 million. He made 44 appearances and scored five goals during his three-year time with the Cherries. Rantie has played for two other European clubs; Swedish club Malmo FF and Turkish side Gençlerbirliği.

Who was your favorite South African footballer in England? 

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