PSL's global profile is weak
Sport24 columnist Mark Gleeson (File)
It was this time last year that two of the most exciting young products to have emerged from the Premier Soccer League were headed for potential glory at the top level of the club game.
Zimbabwean striker Knowledge Musona headed to the Bundesliga as a big ticket item from Kaizer Chiefs and after a campaign in which he had emerged as the PSL’s leading scorer.
Thulani Serero was a multiple award winner at the end of the 2010/11 season and a lucrative sale to Ajax Amsterdam for his club. He departed for the Netherlands with impeccable credentials, rated as among the most exciting players produced locally for many a year.
Twelve months on, and the pair are at a crossroads.
Neither made any impact last season, getting hardly any playing time and not scoring a single goal. It was a major disappointment for their followers.
Musona has since been moved out by his club Hoffenheim, although he stays in the Bundesliga with FC Augsburg. The two have done a one-season loan deal.
Their new league season starts at the weekend with Musona expected to get more playing time, but essentially as a winger rather than a finisher. He needs to prove to the Germans he knows how to find the net.
Serero started a single game for Ajax Amsterdam last season and that was a cup game against amateur opposition.
For the rest he was rarely used as a substitute and in the second half of the season disappeared almost completely. There was talk of him being out of condition.
Last week, it was good to hear Ajax had fielded him for an effective league debut at the start of their new season, a year after he arrived. Hopefully that heralds more regular run outs in the Dutch league where he can spotlight his ability in a league where they like to give youth a chance.
The two carry not only their personal goals and dreams into this new season but also the burden of expectation of the clubs who had such high hopes for them.
Almost as importantly, they are also representatives of the PSL, a league that is packed with talent but will not get the requisite international recognition unless its top two products make a significant impact.
Although there have been a handful of agents who have ventured from Europe to look at South African talent recently, there has certainly been no flood.
The PSL is a deeply entrenched product in the local market, with a massive following.
But the international profile is weak because exports are infrequent, and without impact, and PSL clubs do not make any impact in international competition.
The league has stated it wants to improve its profile and in a sense needs the likes of Musona and Serero to be successful. They represent all the other potential stars in South Africa.Mark Gleeson is a respected television commentator and Editorial Director of Mzanzi Football.
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