Jonty Mark

By Jonty Mark

Football Editor

Lyle Foster – The gap between the PSL and Europe is huge

Foster plays for Belgian second-tier side Westerlo.

Bafana Bafana striker Lyle Foster is hoping that more South African players can ply their trade in Europe, stating that there is a major difference between the leagues over their and the DStv Premiership.

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Foster plays for Belgian second-tier side Westerlo, and has five league goals this season in all competitions. The former Orlando Pirates goalscorer moved to Europe from the Buccaners in 2018, but has struggled to find his feet, only really flourishing this season after moving to Westerlo.

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The 21 year-old is one of just a handful of overseas-based players in the current Bafana squad, set to play Guinea in an international friendly on Friday, before taking on the world champions France in another on Tuesday.

By contrast in continental terms, Guinea’s entire squad is made up of overseas-based players, with most of the best players on the African continent starring for sides in European leagues.

“When I spoke to coach Hugo (Broos) for the first time, it struck me that he watches the games and follows the league (in Belgium),” said Foster ahead of the Guinea game, which will take place in Broos’ native country and Foster’s current place of residence.

“As far as other players go, I hope the appetite is there for them to play in Europe. The gap is so huge between our league and leagues in Europe, in terms of the competitiveness, the way it is run (here) and the professionalism. I hope we can have more players in Europe, facing players from different countries, rather than always playing in the PSL against one another. It makes your skin tougher, you are more ready for the challenges you face.”

If Guinea will be tricky opposition on Friday, meanwhile France are on a whole other level, with global superstars all over their squad, but Foster is not about to be overawed by Les Bleus.

“I don’t want to get starry-eyed, I am very ambitious,” he added.

“You don’t want to play France and go back to your family and friends and say ‘did you see that?’ I want it to be a regular occurrence, that is why I am fighting for these opportunities (in Europe). As a kid that is why I started playing, to go out and eventually reach the highest level.”

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