Many ‘transfers’ between SA and India over the years
THE ties between South African and Indian football go beyond the strides that Katz Naidoo of Pietermaritzburg is making as technical director of youth development at Dempo Sports Club in Goa, India.
While Naidoo is probably the first South African coach to work in India, there were players and a fitness instructor who enjoyed spells in India. Highlighted are some of the “transfers” between the countries.
SABC football analyst Deshi Bhaktawer was the goalkeeping coach of Indian Super League franchise Atletico de Kolkata in 2014. The former Orlando Pirates and Arcadia Shepherds goalkeeper was roped in by former Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits tactician Antonio Lopez Habas. With the Spaniard, Bhaktawer won the inaugural ISL title and in the next edition went as far as the semifinals with the same outfit.
That inaugural ISL title was won with crucial goals by Ethiopian striker Fikru Teferra, who has a long history in the PSL. He turned out for local sides Orlando Pirates, SuperSport United, Free State Stars, Milano United, Bidvest Wits and University of Pretoria since 2006.
Former Ajax Cape Town and Orlando Pirates winger Sameehg Doutie joined the same Kolkata franchise in 2015 and remained with them last season. The Capetonian was a regular in the side, and for the upcoming competition he was snapped up by a new franchise, Jamshedpur FC.
The previous year another ISL outfit, North East United, held their pre-season training camp in Durban, and played friendlies against AmaZulu, Maritzburg United and local teams.
Other players who featured in the ISL recently after playing in the PSL include Botswana midfielder Ofentse Nato and former Pirates midfielder, Zambian international Isaac Chansa.
One of the earliest interactions between the countries was in 2002 when an Indian Football Association XI toured Durban and played matches against inaugural PSL champions Manning Rangers and a KZN XI.
An official from the touring delegation inquired about signing midfielder Clinton Larsen, the current Golden Arrows coach. Manning Rangers in turn asked about Indian international playmaker Alvito D’Cunha’s availability, but neither transfer materialised.
In 2003 Indian giants East Bengal FC hired Bloemfontein fitness trainer Kevin Jackson, who whipped them into shape and helped the side lift the ASEAN Cup, the first continental club title won by an Indian club.
Former South Africa international winger Macdonald Mukansi had a spell with East Bengal in the 2007/08 season.
Another player, striker Sydney Nkalanga, was probably the first South African to play in India when he turned out briefly for East Bengal in 2005. Among his teammates then was DR Congo defender Liswa Nduti, who played almost his entire career in South Africa for Manning Rangers, Zulu Royals and OR Tambo Cosmos.
Another familiar name who crossed over from the SA league to India in 2007 was Congolese winger-striker Edson Dico Minga. After several years with Zulu Royals and Manning Rangers he found his way to Mahindra United, a club owned by the Indian motor manufacturer which also has a presence in South Africa.
Little known DRC midfielder Mbaka Bokembe Dady also had a spell with Mahindra in the mid-2000s after he left local First Division side PJ Stars.
One of the earliest “transfers” was probably Liberian goalkeeper Pewou Bestman, who left Manning Rangers to play for Indian side FC Kochin.
Former Ajax Cape Town and Orlando Pirates winger Sameehg Doutie