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Mamelodi Sundowns: Has Kaizer Chiefs target Mokoena made the right choice?

14:01 GMT 22/01/2022
Vincent Pule of Orlando Pirates Teboho Mokoena Supersport United
The marauding Matsatsantsa midfielder is also believed to have been on the radar of the Glamour Boys as well as a top Belgian outfit

SuperSport United midfielder Teboho Mokoena is reportedly closing in on a move to Mamelodi Sundowns.

It would be disrespectful to Sundowns and probably inaccurate to say that Anderlecht are a bigger team.

But what the Belgian side do offer potentially is a greater stage and a stepping stone to some of the most glamourous and best-paid leagues in the world.

A player like Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi makes for a good example of what can be achieved by leaving for Europe at a young age and playing in the Belgian league – he departed Nigerian side Nath Boys for Genk as a teenager and is now an established player in England’s Premier League with Leicester.

He’s regularly linked with a move to some of the biggest teams and may well end up signing for one in the future, such has been his form and progress.

Like Mokoena, the 25-year-old Ndidi is an influential central midfielder with a great engine. While Ndidi is a bit more physical, Mokoena has a superior goal-scoring and assist record.

Mokoena however, who turns 25 in the next few days, is already behind the Nigerian in terms of international development.

That said, for a young man, Mokoena still has an impressive amount of experience in the PSL – he made his top-flight debut six seasons back and has 156 matches under his belt.

It’s for that reason, however, that a move abroad may have been a good idea for Mokoena. Does he really need more game-time in the PSL? Does he have anything left to prove in South Africa?

He is, after all, a regular for Bafana Bafana these days.

Of course, at Sundowns there’s an almost guaranteed chance of winning silverware, and there’s also the opportunity to play in the Caf Champions League.

Still though, for a player of such talent and with so much potential, should there not be a greater ambition to make it on the international stage, as soon as possible, after all the experience he’s gained already?

And while some may argue that Europe is not the be-all and end-all in football, it should be noted that the dwindling numbers of South African players plying their trades in the top four or five leagues in Europe has coincided with a slump in Bafana Bafana’s fortunes over the past 10 to 15 years.

Certainly, South African footballers are lagging behind many of our African counterparts when it comes to playing in the biggest leagues.

And who, as a supporter of PSL football, wouldn't enjoy switching on the television on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and seeing one of our own competing with the global superstars?

Mokoena is a player who could feasibly do that.

And just because it didn’t work out for Percy Tau in the Premier League with Brighton, that doesn’t mean others shouldn’t give it a go.