Cosafa Cup stars aplenty among new African arrivals in PSL
South African Premier Soccer League clubs are still busy in the transfer market and have until the end of the month to sign new players, but most have already filled their foreign quotas for this season.
There are a number of new players from across the African continent that have been drafted into squads, from the relatively unknown to players who have been on the radar of PSL clubs for some time. It's also noteworthy how many have been signed on the back of their performances at the Cosafa Cup... a risky strategy if that's the only 'intel' they've used to fill one of their five foreigner slots.
KweséESPN looks at the new arrivals from the Africa for this campaign.
ELVIS CHIPEZEZE (BAROKA)
Baroka signed Chipezeze from Chicken Inn in the Zimbabwe Premier League, where he was the reigning Goalkeeper of the Year.
The 28-year-old has signed a three-year contract to keep him in Limpopo until June 2021. He did not feature in Bakgaga's season-opening match-day squad, presumably still waiting for his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) or South African work permit.
TERRENCE DZVUKAMANJA (BIDVEST WITS)
Dzvukamanja is the latest in a long line of Zimbabwean attackers to try their luck in South Africa and so far so good as he has two assists and a goal in his first two matches for new club Wits.
The 24-year-old left-footer was signed from Ngezi Platinum in his homeland after impressing in the 2018 COSAFA Cup in Polokwane, where he helped Zimbabwe to the title.
Before leaving for Wits, Dzvukamanja had netted eight times for Ngezi in the league this year.
JUSTICE FIGAREIDO (MARITZBURG UNITED)
Figareido effectively claimed The Team of Choice's fifth foreigner spot for the season when the club confirmed his signing, on a two-year contract from Manzini Sundowns, in mid-August.
Coach Fadlu Davids took his time to make up his mind on the lanky Swazi attacker, as he spent the entire pre-season being assessed before being signed. Figareido, much like fellow lanky forward Junior Zindoga (Zimbabwe-born but with a local mother), has been signed based on untapped potential as he is only 20-years-old and not well-known across the continent.
Undoubtedly the club will hope that both go some way to filling the void left since Evans Rusike left for SuperSport United in January, while at the same time learning from Belgian Andrea Fileccia who has been a useful signing for the club but is injury-prone.
CÉSAIRE GANDZÉ (FREE STATE STARS)
The experienced midfielder joined Stars on a one-year deal from AS Otôho d'Oyo, lured to the club by Belgian coach Luc Eymael.
The 29-year-old won the Confederation Cup in 2012 with AC Leopards and reached the semifinals of the Champions League one year later with the Congolese club, and has played in South Africa before for them against Mamelodi Sundowns.
He is an experienced Congo international who can play in a number of positions, either a holding midfielder or a more attacking option. He has been a regular in the national team since 2011.
LOYDT KAZAPUA (HIGHLANDS PARK)
The Namibian goalkeeper has seemingly been signed by coach Owen da Gama as cover in the squad with Zimbabwean Tapuwa Kapini very much the number one.
He did not feature in the match-day squad for Highlands Park's opening 1-1 draw with Orlando Pirates, with Marlon Heugh preferred on the bench.
Kazapua, 29, arrived from Windhoek side African Stars and has also previously played for Namibian side Tigers.
THATAYAONE KGAMANYANE (CHIPPA UNITED)
Kgamanyane won a move to Chippa after a fine display in the 2018 COSAFA Cup for Botswana, where his creativity and goals caught the eye of a number of clubs.
Chippa signed the 22-year-old along with compatriot Kabelo Seakanyeng at the tournament, much to the ire of their national team coach David Bright.
Kgamanyane was signed from Gaborone United and was an unused substitute in Chippa's opening 2-0 loss to Bloemfontein Celtic on Sunday.
TUMELO KHUTLANG (BLACK LEOPARDS)
A year after a move to Mthatha Bucks collapsed at the final hurdle, Khutlang has finally left the Lesotho league for the relative riches of South Africa.
Leopards' management sealed the 22-year-old's recruitment after seeing him in action at the Cosafa Cup followed by a period of assessment. They will hope the presence of his national team colleague Luciano Matsoso will help him settle in further with the newly-promoted club.
A two-time young player of the year winner in Lesotho, Khutlang has most recently been on the books of Lioli and can play in any of the three attacking midfielder positions behind a striker.
KOUASSI KOUADJA (CAPE TOWN CITY)
The Ivorian centre-back has had a journeyman career through eastern Europe so far but is still only 23 and was seen as something of a coup when signed by Cape Town City in this transfer window.
Early indications are that was right as his powerful and accomplished displays in pre-season carried through to the 2-0 victory over SuperSport United on Saturday in the club's league opener.
He could in fact be one of the signings of the season and comes with experience of having played in Romania, Moldova, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia.
DIVINE LUNGA (LAMONTVILLE GOLDEN ARROWS)
Left-back Lunga is another of Zimbabwe's heroes from the 2018 COSAFA Cup and arrives at Lamontville Golden Arrows from Chicken Inn.
He played in every minute of Zimbabwe's successful COSAFA Cup campaign and at the age of 23 is seen as a bright prospect in the national team.
With last season's first-choice Zolani Nkombelo out through a long-term injury, Lunga made his debut for Golden Arrows in their 2-0 away win over Maritzburg United on Sunday.
GHAMPANI LUNGU (SUPERSPORT UNITED)
Despite a disappointing 2017-18 season for them, SuperSport United have resisted making wholesale changes to their squad with Lungu one of only five new signings.
The Zambian, who goes by 'Mr Jones', has been signed from Power Dynamos, who he only joined earlier this year. The 19-year-old made his name at National Assembly where he reportedly scored 17 goals and delivered 24 assists during their promotion-winning campaign in 2017.
Matsatsantsa's head coach Kaitano Tembo, newly promoted to the job, will be desperate for the attacking midfielder-come-striker to find his feet quickly and produce similar form in the PSL. Lungu made his debut as a substitute in the club's second match of the season, a 1-0 win against AmaZulu.
ONKABETSE MAKGANTAI (BAROKA)
Botswana forward Makgantai has long been courted by PSL clubs but instead opted to try his luck at AS Vita Club in DR Congo.
That did not work out for him, but after a fine 2018 COSAFA Cup in South Africa, where he netted five goals to finish as top-scorer, Baroka have swooped for his services.
The club made the announcement on August 2 and he will now go through the formalities of applying for a work permit.
He has also previously played for Nico United and Orapa United in his homeland.
LUCIANO MATSOSO (BLACK LEOPARDS)
Black Leopards' loyal supporters will be intrigued to know that Matsoso is nicknamed Messi. Of course, that may have more to do with the pint-sized attacker being left-footed and donning Lesotho's number 10 jersey at the Cosafa Cup than anything else.
As it happens, the 26-year-old has a strong connection with South Africa. Though born in Maseru, he left his homeland as a five-year-old bound for Johannesburg. As a young teenager he attended the Transnet-SAFA School of Excellence and then continued his education in the Bloemfontein Celtic development.
While a long-term injury put paid to his first team chances at Phunya Sele Sele, he did feature in the National First Division at Roses United during the 2013-14 season before eventually settling in Poland -- at MKS Oskar Przysucha -- from where Leopards have recruited him.
LESENYA RAMORAKA (HIGHLANDS PARK)
Left-back Ramoraka was one of the stand-out players for Botswana in their run to the Plate Final of the COSAFA Cup and was quickly snapped up by Highlands Park, who had scouted him extensively at the tournament.
The 24-year-old made the move from Orapa United in Botswana and has signed a two-year deal to keep him at the club until June 2020.
Ramoraka made his debut for Highlands Park in their 1-1 draw with Orlando Pirates on Saturday.
KABELO SEAKANYENG (CHIPPA UNITED)
Seakanyeng has been a stand-out performer for the Botswana national team for some years now and has been close to a PSL move before, though was never quite able to take the plunge.
After another fine showing at the 2018 COSAFA Cup, where he scored three goals, he was signed by Chippa and will now get the opportunity to prove his ability on a bigger league stage.
He was signed from Gaborone United, but has also played for BDF XI in his homeland. He was not included in the Chippa squad for their season opener against Bloemfontein Celtic.
HUSSEIN SHABANI (BAROKA)
Attacking midfielder Shabani was signed by Baroka from Rwandan club Rayon Sports, where he had featured in the African Champions League this season.
Shabani is actually from Burundi and started his career with local side Flambeau de l'Est in 2012. He then moved to Vital'O FC, where he won the league title, before being snapped up by Rwandan side Amagaju FC.
After 18 months there he moved to Rayon, where his performance in the Champions League against Mamelodi Sundowns caught the eye of Baroka.
He started for his new club in their opening league game of the season at the weekend.
BANELE SIKHONDZE (POLOKWANE CITY)
Polokwane City snapped up Swaziland striker Sikhondze after his exploits for Mbabane Swallows in the African Champions League drew the attention of a number of clubs.
He also played for Swaziland in the 2018 COSAFA Cup, where he caught the eye in an under-performing side.
Sikhondze has played in both of Polokwane City's opening two league matches, starting one and coming off the bench in the other.
He has also played for Manzini Wanderers and Manzini Sundowns in his homeland.
TONI SILVA (MAMELODI SUNDOWNS)
Guinea-Bissau star Silva has been out of action for some time but comes with vast experience of playing in Europe, including England, Bulgaria, Turkey, Portugal and most recently Greece.
He was a junior at Portuguese side Benfica and English club Liverpool, and also starred for Guinea-Bissau at the 2017 African Nations Cup.
Silva, still only 24, has not played a competitive fixture since last November though, so may need some time to bed in at Mamelodi Sundowns, who he joined as a free agent after leaving Levadiakos in Greece in March.