May Mahlangu joins Kazakhstan club Ordabasy
May Mahlangu has become the latest South African to ply his trade in a far-flung part of the globe after signing for Kazakhstan club Ordabasy on loan until November this year.
Mahlangu found game-time difficult at Bulgarian side Ludogorets Razgrad‚ who were seeking to get him off their wage bill‚ but found their options for moving on the former Bafana Bafana midfielder limited.
That is because Mahlangu had already played for two clubs in the 2018/19 season‚ Romanian outfit Dinamo Bucharest being the other‚ and so could not feature for a third.
But because the campaign in Kazakhstan runs from March to November‚ it is considered by Fifa to be a new season‚ making Mahlangu eligible to play.
He joins the likes of Jaisen Clifford (Stumbras‚ Lithuania)‚ Kabelo Seriba (Metta/LU‚ Latvia)‚ Mkhanyiseli Siwahla (Partizán Bardejov‚ Slovakia) and Mpumelelo Zwane (Ararat Yerevan‚ Armenia) in some of Europe’s less glamorous leagues.
The 29-year-old Mahlangu made two starts and five substitute appearances for Ludogorets in the first half of the campaign‚ not nearly the impact either he or the club would have hoped for.
Ordabasy are coached by former defender Kakhaber Tskhadadze‚ who played for Manchester City and Eintracht Frankfurt in a long playing career‚ as well as the Georgian national side.
He led Ordabasy to fourth in the Kazakhstan Premier League last season‚ some 31 points behind champions Astana‚ who have won the league in the country for the last five seasons.
That finish did qualify Ordabasy for the 2019/20 Uefa Europa League though‚ where Mahlangu will be able to compete on the European stage again.
The new season will start on March 9‚ giving Mahlangu a few weeks to acclimatise to his surroundings.
Mahlangu‚ who has never played in South Africa’s PSL‚ has enjoyed a successful career in Europe‚ most notably with Sweden‚ where he won the Player of the Year award while at Helsingborg‚ but also Turkey‚ Belgium and Romania.
He won the last of his 18 Bafana Bafana caps in November 2016‚ and has refused a number of call-ups since.