Despite battling the ghosts of relegation in Belgium, Siboniso Gaxa, Lance Davids and Daylon Claasen are commanding regular positions at Lierse SK.
The Jupiler Pro League club rates the South African trio in its top 10 list of players with the most games this season.
This is progress defender Gaxa has hailed as “positive” since his transfer from Mamelodi Sundowns at the beginning of the current season.
“It was not easy in the beginning, but the positive aspect about my stint so far is that I have started playing regularly.
The coach has even played me at left-back and once as a right-winger,” he said of his 17 appearances in the club’s 25 official matches so far.
He added: “The disappointing part of it is that the team is struggling.”
Lierse are second from the bottom of the 16-club league and have already fired their coach since their promotion at the start of the campaign.
Since his arrival in Belgium, Gaxa lost his Bafana place to Anele Ngcongca, who ironically plies his trade in the same league – for title contenders Racing Genk.
“I see it as healthy competition. Anele has his chance and I just have to keep on working hard to regain my starting place in the national team,” said Gaxa, who was nurtured at the FC Copenhagen School of Excellence in Port Elizabeth.
Davids, who was the club’s first new signing of the season, has enjoyed more game time than any other player at Lierse, with a run of 1 763 minutes.
Classen has featured in 17 matches with two goals in 1 636 minutes on the field.
The former Ajax Cape Town midfielder was among the goalscorers in Lierse’s 2-1 win over KV Mechelen last weekend.
In England, Bongani Khumalo’s debut in the Premiership is imminent since he marked his first appearance on the bench for Tottenham Hotspur in the club’s 1-0 win over Blackburn Rovers on February 2.
He was also an unused substitution in Spurs’ 2-1 win over Sunderland last weekend.
The ex-SuperSport United captain is still awaiting his turn since Spurs coach Harry Redknapp has shown preference for William Gallas and Michael Dawson in central defence.
In Portugal, South Africa’s sole representative in the Liga Zon Sagres, Calvin Kadi, is also battling relegation with his club, Portimonense Sporting Clube.
The former Bidvest Wits hotshot has to date made 14 appearances, with one goal to his credit, in the club’s 19 league matches so far.