Bafana Bafana’s highest ever UCL goal scorers: Who joins Benni?

Bafana Bafana’s highest ever UCL goal scorers: Who joins Benni?
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Bafana Bafana players seem comfortable playing their football in the PSL. Their lack of desire to leave their comfort zone means few high-profile players.

The assertion is probably not up for debate as few Bafana Bafana players are plying their trade in Europe.

In January 2023, former Bafana Bafana defender Nasief Morris took a jab at the current generation of South African players, claiming a lack of ambition on their part.

The group stage of the topmost club football competition is about to start, but noticeably absent in the UEFA Champions League are South African players.

With some exciting matches set for September 19 and 20, it begs the question, who are the highest Bafana Bafana UCL goal scorers?

Bafana Bafana top scorers in the UCL

Not many Bafana Bafana players have featured in the UEFA Champions League. However, the few the competition has seen have left their mark.

Let us delve into the competition and see South Africa's top scorers in the UEFA Champions League.

Peter Tsepo Masilela

bafana bafana tsepo masilela
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Masilela did not have a notable career while in Europe. He featured for two clubs and played in the UEFA Champions League.

On 31 August 2007, the former Bafana Bafana left-back signed a four-year deal with Maccabi Haifa.

He helped the Israeli side win the Israeli Championship and thus qualified for the UEFA Champions League.

Masilela had his best season in 2009-10. He made 13 assists and one goal, with the goal coming in a 6-0 away win over Glenthoran in July 2009.

The goal came in a UEFA Champions League qualifying match.

Dino Ndlovu

Dino Ndlovu former Bafana Bafana star
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Dino Ndlovu joined FK Qarabağ in a two-year deal on 12 August 2016. He is one of the illustrious Bafana Bafana sons to have scored in the UEFA Champions League.

Ndlovu scored four goals in the UCL qualifying campaign in the 2017/18 season.

His first two goals were against FC Samtredia in a 6-0 win, with one coming from the penalty spot.

He also scored in a 1-2 away win to Sheriff Tiraspol in the next round, while his fourth goal was to FC Copenhagen on 23 August 2017.

Despite losing the game 2-1, FK Qarabağ qualified for the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time in their history.

Thulani Serero

thulani serero former bafana bafana star scores in the UCL
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Thulani Serero joined Ajax in 2011 from Ajax Cape Town and spent six seasons with the Dutch club.

In the 2013/14 season, Serero made 11 appearances for Ajax, scoring one goal and two assists in the Champions League.

The only goal by the former Bafana Bafana star came in a 2-1 win over FC Barcelona – a 19th-minute goal from a Ricardo van Rhijn cross.

Quinton Fortune

Bafana former Bafana and Man Utd star quinton fortune
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Fortune arrived at Old Trafford in 1999 after a torrid time at Atletico Madrid.

Fortune became a workhorse for Sir Alex Ferguson, playing in several positions for the club.

Fortune scored two Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup goals for Manchester United.

Fortune scored his first UCL goal in a group stage 5-0 drubbing of Panathinaikos. He scored his second goal against FC Porto in a 2-1 round of 16 loss.

It was a game that saw another South African scoring two goals for FC Porto – Benni McCarthy.

Steven Pienaar

former bafana bag=fana midfielder steven pienaar scores for Ajax
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Steven Pienaar has had a bit of a run in Europe. He is one of the most prominent high-profile Bafana Bafana players.

Pienaar played for Ajax, Borussia Dortmund, Everton and Tottenham in Europe.

He scored only two Champions League goals, with both coming while playing for Ajax.

Pienaar got his first UCL goal in a 2-0 group stage win over Olympique Lyon, while the other came in a 3-2 quarter-final loss to AC Milan.

He got the second equalizer for Ajax only to see Jon Dahl Tommasson score in the 90th minute to knock Ajax out of the competition.

Pienaar played with talented players at Ajax, like Zlatan Ibrahimović, Maxwell, Cristian Chivu, Mido, Nigel de Jong, Rafael van der Vaart, and Wesley Sneijder.

Benni McCarthy

Bafana Bafana legend Benni McCarthy in action
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Benni McCarthy is a first-team coach at Manchester United but the highest goal scorer of all time for Bafana Bafana.

The former Ahjax, Celta Vigo and FC Porto star had an illustrious career in Europe and is the only South African player to win the UEFA Champions League.

He won it with FC Porto in the 2003-04 season.

McCarthy is also the highest-scoring South African in the Champions League, with nine goals from 28 appearances.

This article was most recently revised and updated 7 months ago

Chooka Izuegbuna is a Sports Journalist with 20 years of experience in print, TV and Radio. He has worked with some of the top media houses in Nigeria, including NTA Network, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird TV and MITV. Chooka broke his sports reporting teeth with The Game Football Weekly in 2003 as a cartoonist and reporter.