Plenty of locals feature in European action
MAY Mahlangu’s Swedish side Helsingborg have been handed a gentle start to their European Champions League quest having been drawn against Welsh minnows The New Saints FC in the second round.
It should be a routine win for Mahlangu and his teammates against the Welsh champions, who have won just two of their previous 12 matches in this competition. Those wins came last year against Latvian side FK Ventspils and Bohemians of Ireland, before they were ousted 6-1 on aggregate by Belgian outfit Anderlecht.
Helsingborg should expect a similar scoreline this time round as they seek to reach the group stages of the Champions League for the first time since the 2007-08 season.
Kamohelo Mokotjo’s Dutch side Feyenoord enter the competition in the next round, while Thulani Serero’s Ajax Amsterdam have qualified automatically for the lucrative group stages.
Meanwhile in the Europa League, South African striker Dino Ndlovu will enter the competition in the second round, with his Israeli side Bnei Yehuda taking on the winner of the first round tie between FK Rudar Pljevlja of Montenegro and FC Shirak of Armenia.
Ndlovu and his teammates would expect to advance past either of those in what is their fourth appearance in a row in the competition.
Last year they were eliminated in the third round by Helsingborg, Mahlangu having a hand in that victory, having defeated Andorran side UE Sant Julià in the second round.
Their best season was in the 2009-10 campaign when they reached the play-off round before suffering a narrow 2-0 aggregate loss to Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven.
More South Africans will enter this competition in the later rounds, with Anele Ngcongca (Genk, Belgium), Sergio Marakis, Miguel Rodrigues and Brad Wexler (all Maritimo, Portugal), Ayanda Patosi (Lokeren, Belgium), and Steven Pienaar and Bongani Khumalo (both Tottenham Hotspur, England) set to be involved.