Players Abroad

SL PODCAST  |  Podcast , ±11 min episodes every 6 weeks, 6 days  | 
Players Abroad is the Soccer Laduma Radio show where we connect you with the South African footballers playing in foreign leagues.

In each episode, we connect with South African footballers who are plying their trade overseas. They tell us about the country, the culture, the fans and more. We also hear what they’ve been missing most about Mzansi.

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Leo Mert On How The Italian Game Is Different To The South African Game

Cape Town-born youngster Leo Mert is yet another young South African who took a leap of faith to trial in Europe for a team. Leo was successful having recently just signed his first professional contract with Italian side A.S.D Seravezza Pozzi Calcio in the Serie D. Leo is an out and out striker, who is capable of playing anywhere in the attack, as he says “Where there is a chance to score, I’ll be there.” Leo represented the Bidvest Wits Academy as well as SuperSport United in the MDC, before deciding to join International Football scouting agency Socca Dream. From there, he was allowed to be scouted in Europe.

On the latest episode of Player Abroad, Cape Town-born youngster Leo Mert shares his experience having recently signed for Italian outfit Seravezza Pozzi Calcio and how the game there differs from the South African football.

"Katlego Mashigo shares his Bafana Bafana dream, life in Europe, and his PSL admission"

After securing a man-of-the-match award on his debut for Portadown FC, Katlego Mashigo is very quickly showing that he has the talent necessary to make a career out of playing in Europe. During part one of this two-part interview, Mashigo opened up about how he most likely wouldn’t have played football if he stayed in South Africa. Mashigo spent the first few years of his career in the youth leagues but very quickly made his way to the Northern Ireland Football League (NIFL) where he signed for Portadown FC, joining fellow South African Jethren Barr. Having represented Ireland at the u15 level, Mashigo, holding a dual-citizenship, explains which national country he would like to represent in the future and why. The 21-year-old explains why he would come back to South Africa and potentially the PSL.

In the final part of this 2-part Players Abroad special, South African-born youngster Katlego Mashigo provides a career-first explanation about which national team he would like to play for. Mashigo also speaks about the chances of him ever joining a club in the PSL.

I Would Never Have Played Football If I Stayed - Katlego Mashigo

Katlego Mashigo is very quickly becoming a household name in Northern Ireland after the South African-born youngster received the man of the match award after his debut game. Rewind the tape to 2006, Katlego moved to Ireland, after spending the first five years of his life in Shoshanguve. Once in Ireland, Katlego’s mother took him down to the local football club to start playing, but as Katlego says so himself, he was more fascinated with the artificial pitch than the game itself! Speaking on the SL podcast, Katlego confesses that if he was to stay in South Africa, chances are he would never have kicked a ball, or the chances are slim at least.

In Part one of this 2-part Players Abroad interview, Katlego begins to talk about how he started playing the beautiful game we all know and love; he takes us on his journey, starting right from the very beginning.

How Does The Scandinavian Game Compete With The Local Game?

With the second half of the PSL underway, we wanted to take a trip down memory lane to our conversations with a few South Africans who are flying the flag high abroad! This is a very special highlights episode that features snippets from Luke Le Roux, Kgotso Masangane, and Bantu Mzwakal. The three South African stars representing Mzansi in Scandinavia talk about the different playing styles in their respective clubs compared to that of the PSL.

On the latest episode of Players Abroad, Luke Le Roux, Kgotso Masangane, and Bantu Mzwakal reveal what it’s like playing abroad compared to what it’s like playing in the DStv Premiership!

SA Wonderkid On Making PSL History and Moving To Northern Ireland!

During his early years as a footballer in the Premier Soccer League (PSL), Jethren became the youngest goalkeeper in PSL History to make his debut, at the age of 17. Barr started his career in 2012 when he signed for Bidvest Wits. he spent the 2016/2017 PSL season on loan at Stellenbosch FC before signing for Maritzburg United, where he made history (and currently still holds that record.) Barr managed to secure a move to Portadown FC; the team plays in the Northern Ireland Football League (NIFL). Barr has managed to claim a few personal accolades since joining ‘The Ports.’

On the latest episode of the SL Podcast’s ‘Players Abroad’ Barr discusses his early career in the PSL, how it felt to make his professional debut for Maritzburg United and how he managed to secure a move to Northern Ireland after being held back on a few occasions. The 26-year-old goalie speaks candidly about how changing football agents helped him with his move to Europe. In the full show, Barr talks about the difference between playing in NIFL compared to the PSL and how he managed to adjust to the culture and playing styles.

“I Was Told To Consider A Career Outside Football”- Darren Smith

During his early years as a footballer in the Premier Soccer League (PSL), Darren Smith became a journeyman and moved between clubs frequently, playing for the likes of Amazulu, Stellenbosch FC, and SuperSport United. After failing to establish himself in any local side, Smith persevered and earned his opportunity in the Ykkönen (Finland’s second division), where he enjoyed a breakout season, scoring 18 goals in 22 league appearances to win the Golden Boot award, while also being crowned Best Striker of the Season and Player of the Season.

In the latest episode of the SL Podcast’s “Player Abroad”, Smith discusses his early career struggles in the PSL and how he managed to earn a move to Finland against all odds. The 24-year-old striker also speaks candidly about how a particular PSL club CEO told him to give up on his football dream and consider a different path, and how his belief in himself and God helped him maintain focus on goal. In the full show, he also discusses his new team FC Honka and the opportunity to play in the Veikkausliiga (Finland’s top division) and the newly-formed UEFA Europa Conference League when he starts his next campaign abroad.

One SA youngster’s Tokyo Olympics Dream

Former Stellenbosch FC & SuperSport United youth Luke Le Roux has been quietly earning his stripes, earning 23 appearances (and 20 starts) during the 2020 season of Sweden’s top tier, the Allsvenskan. The 20-year-old is back in South Africa due to a work permit issue, but with his side having already secured their top flight status for next year’s campaign, he has his sights set on next year. The central midfielder has dreams of making the South Africa u23 side which will travel to Tokyo for the 2021 Olympics. Having been left out of last year’s preliminary squad for the tournament, he’ll have a second chance due to the postponement of the games which was caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

In the latest episode of the SL Podcast’s “Players Abroad”, Le Roux discusses the 2020 Allsvenskan campaign and the importance of getting game time to earn experience and build his confidence. He also opens up about his ambitions to earn a spot in David Notoane’s South Africa u23 squad when they travel to Tokyo, Japan for this year’s Olympic games. Le Roux also discusses the added benefit of having fellow SA youngsters Tashreeq Matthews and Keanin Ayer with him in the Varberg Bois squad.

From ABC Motsepe League To Big European Dreams

Promising midfielder Kgotso Masangane has taken a relatively unconventional journey to European leagues, making the leap from ABC Motsepe League outfit FC Zone Mavo, to unfamiliar territory in the Latvian Higher League with FK Metta. In his first season with the club in 2019, his performances were so impressive that he earned Metta’s Player of the Season Award.

Speaking on SL Radio’s Players Abroad podcast, the 22-Year-Old midfielder discussed how while misses home, his next goal would be to join a larger club, stating “For me, a move in Europe, for a bigger team, would be a great move.” Discussing the system at his current team, he praised the coach’s faith in younger talent, continuing, “For FK Metta, the coach loves to introduce young players most of the time. [It’s] his philosophy, he believes in young players not experienced players.”

Former Amazulu Star Is Finished With Finnish Food

South African players have managed to find success in Scandinavian countries such as Sweden, Finland & Denmark. Examples include Sibusiso Zuma and Josta Dladla. While the football can be quite enjoyable in Northern Europe, the change of scenery, culture & cuisine can be quite jarring for players. This is the case for Ayabulela Konqobe, a former Amazulu star who is having a stellar season for Ekenäs IF in Finland.

Speaking on SL Radio’s Players Abroad podcast, the 24-year-old midfielder discussed how he misses South African food; “I can’t eat this man. I think on the third or fourth day of eating Finnish food, I was like ‘Nah, I can’t have this anymore’. I was literally just having buns and cheese and ham the whole time until my friend started cooking because we both couldn’t handle it."

'Seeing My Son Would Make My Year'

Former Orlando Pirates & Kaizer Chiefs youth player Mihlali Mayambela has just completed his loan spell with Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv F.C. in Israel and will return to his parent club SC Farense in Portugal. There he will compete for a place in Coach Jorge Paixao's side. The team have just been promoted to the top flight of Portuguese football.

Speaking on SL Radio’s Players Abroad podcast, Mayambela revealed some of the struggles he’s experienced in the second half of the season, including his injury and missing home;

“The main focus is on the injury, I didn’t heal properly because of the coronavirus, so now I’m trying my best to get the best treatment and get back to playing football.”

When asked if there was something his older brother Mark could send to him in Portugal, Mayambela spoke candidly about his family, stating “maybe if he could sneak in my son, so I could see him. My son and himself, that would do me good for the year.”

'Our U23 Midfielders Are Just Phenomenal'

South Africa will be heading to the next Olympic games after beating Ghana to the bronze medal during their AFCON U23 tournament clash at the Cairo International Stadium last year. As the Olympics have since been postponed to 2021, South African youngsters still have the opportunity to challenge for a spot in David Notoane’s team. One such player is Luke Le Roux, a South African midfielder currently playing in Sweden for Varbergs BoIS FC. Le Roux will be fighting for a spot in a talented Amaglug-glug midfield.

Speaking to SL Radio on the Players Abroad podcast, Le Roux stated, “Of course it is obviously [a goal] to play for your country, it’s a big honour so you have to work towards something. Also, if you look at the midfielders that are there at the moment in the U23 category, the midfielders there are just phenomenal. You have the likes of Tebza (Teboho Mokoena), you have Sipho Mbule, you have Grant Margeman, it’s just crazy man. So if I miss out, it’s not the end of the world, if my country is there doing well. But if I could get the opportunity, I would grab it with both hands.”

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