Top five greatest European players in PSL history

Austrian midfielder Ronald Putsche recently ended his successful spell at Cape Town City.

The midfield workhorse is one of the many European players, who have plied their trade the Premier Soccer League (PSL) since the inception of the competition in 1996.

The South African top-flight has attracted players from all over the world including European countries such as England, Netherlands, Belgium and Austria.

We take a look at the top five greatest European players in the history of the PSL:

GIORGI NERGADZE

The retired Georgian midfielder arrived in the country in 2010 and he joined Moroka Swallows ahead of the 2010/11 season.

Nergadze quickly became a key player at the club and he was very influential as the Dube Birds narrowly missed out on the Absa Premiership title in 2011/12 campaign - finishing second behind champions, Orlando Pirates.

The hard-tackling defensive midfielder also played in all of Swallows' four matches in the 2012 MTN8 which the Soweto giants won with Nergadze finding the back of the net in the final against SuperSport United.

Nergadze spent one more season with Swallows, before securing a move to Bidvest Wits where he played for one campaign before returning home in 2015 following a successful stay in South Africa.

ANSSI JAAKKOLA

The towering Finnish shot-stopper was among the best goalkeepers in the country during his three-year spell with Ajax Cape Town between 2013 and 2016.

Jaakkola hit the ground running in the Absa Premiership as he caught the eye during the 2013/14 campaign - keeping 10 clean sheets and he was nominated for the Goalkeeper of the Season accolade.

An athletic and agile yet towering goalkeeper, Jaakkola then helped the Urban Warriors reach the 2015 Nedbank Cup final where they narrowly lost to Mamelodi Sundowns on penalties having kept two clean sheets in the competition.

Jaakkola was also an ever-present for Ajax in the 2015 MTN8 which they won in his final season (2015/16) with the club having impressively kept three clean sheets from four matches and he was signed by English club Reading FC.

JAMES KEENE

The English marksman spent four seasons in the PSL scoring goals for both Bidvest Wits and SuperSport United and he also won trophies.

Keene impressively hit the back of the net seven times in 11 matches in his debut season (2015/16) in the Absa Premiership for Bidvest Wits and as a result, the Clever Boys finished second behind league champions Mamelodi Sundowns.

The well-traveled striker, who is an instinctive finisher, was part of the Clever Boys team which won the league and MTN8 in the 2016/17 season and he inspired the team to the 2017 Telkom Knockout Cup having netted twice in the competition.

Keene was on the books of SuperSport during the 2018/19 season and he helped the team reach the 2018 MTN8 final where they lost to Cape Town City on penalties, before moving to Sweden at the end of the campaign.

ROLAND PUTSCHE

The Austrian player was a highly-rated central midfielder during his time in the PSL playing for Cape Town City where he spent four years.

Putsche was an important member of the Citizens team which stunned SuperSport United to clinch the 2016 Telkom Knockout Cup in his first season (2016/17) with team scoring once in four appearances in the competition.

A hard-working midfield maestro capable of scoring spectacular goals, Putsche helped City finish in the top five positions on the Absa Premiership standings in the next two campaigns as a consistent performer for the team.

Putsche struggled with injuries in his last two seasons (2018/19 and 2019/20) with the Citizens, but he managed to make three appearances in the 2018 MTN8 which they won and he leaves City having achieved legendary status at the club.

ALJE SCHUT

The retired Dutch player was a reliable defender and inspirational captain at Mamelodi Sundowns during his three-year successful spell with the Tshwane giants.

Known for his heading ability, Schut proved to be a goalscoring central defender during his debut campaign (2012/13) in the Absa Premiership as he scored four goals and they narrowly lost to Bloemfontein Celtic in the 2012 Telkom Knockout Cup final.

The former FC Utrecht captain helped transform the Brazilians into perennial league title contenders and he captained the team to the league title in his second campaign and scored in the final game of the season against Maritzburg United.

Schut also led Sundowns to the Nedbank Cup triumph at the end of his final campaign (2014/15) with the Chloorkop side and the team also finished as runners-up in the league and he decided to return home in the Netherlands.