At the age of 22, Lyle Foster has achieved what most South African footballers can only dream of.
His move to the English Championship log leaders, Burnley, is the icing on the cake, and an indication of an upward trajectory the former Orlando Pirates’ youth development product’s career is taking in European football.
The big question is whether or not he will make a success of his four-and-a-half-year stay at Turf Moor. While that remains to be seen, we believe he has what it takes.
Lyle Foster literally grew up in European football, having left South Africa in 2019 to join Monaco before he could firmly establish himself with his parent club Orlando Pirates.
He has since played in Portugal for Club Vitoria Guimaraes SC B SC, Cercle Brugge, and KVC Westerlo, whom he played a vital role in helping them gain promotion to the Belgian Pro League, earning a nomination for the 2021/2022 1B Pro League Player of the Year Award in the process.
He leaves KVC Westerlo with an impressive eight goals and four assists under his name.
While the English game is a whole new different beast for the Bafana centre-forward, his familiarity with the demands of the European game places him in a good position to succeed with the Clarets.
Another big advantage for Foster is that he is no stranger to his new coach, Vincent Kompany, they faced each other on the field during the 2019/20 season in the Belgian Pro League, while Kompany was winding down his illustrious playing career at Anderlecht R.S.C, with Foster playing for Cercle Brugge.
That means Kompany knows exactly what the youngster can do on the pitch and what he brings to the club, Foster will not have many difficulties in hitting the ground running at Turf Moor.
Foster has the physique and mental strength to withstand the demands of the English game, he has the speed, the technique, and most importantly, he has an eye for goals.
Burnley seems like fertile ground for Foster to blossom into one of the most successful South African exports like Benni McCarthy.
Hopefully, we will see him playing against the world’s best in the English Premier League next season.