With international break in full swing, it means we all talk about one thing only – Bafana Bafana. Over the years there have been some great moments concerning our national team such as winning the Nations Cup and back-to-back World Cup qualification. More recently, however, there’s been some very disappointing moments like failing to score at the Nations Cup, failing to qualify despite half of Africa being part of the tournament. With that said, our analyst picks his all-time Bafana Bafana XI.
Benni McCarthy or Shaun Bartlett? Andre Arendse, Itumeleng Khune or Hans Vonk? Neil Tovey or Mark Fish?
South Africa are drawn in Group G along with Ghana, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. Their first game ended in a goalless draw away to Zimbabwe while they host group favourites Ghana on Monday night at the FNB Stadium.
GK: Andre Arendse – Arendse represented the nation from 1995 to 2004. He was in goal when we won the Nations Cup in 1998 and was part of the team that qualified for the World Cup in 1998 and 2002, where he kept South Africa’s first and only world cup clean sheet in 2002. Notably, Arendse played for Fulham in the English Premier League before returning to South Africa, where he won four league titles.
RB: Sizwe Motaung – Introduced to top-flight by the one and only Jomo Sono in 1991. Sizwe went on to represent all three of the so-called big teams in Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates. Overseas, he played for St. Gallen in Switzerland and CD Tenerife in Spain.
CB: Neil Tovey – Tovey recorded over 50 national caps, captaining the side 21 times and remains the only captain to lift a major trophy with Bafana Bafana. Surprisingly the Durban-born defender wore jersey number 9 but doesn’t have a single national team goal. Though, to be fair, he was probably responsible for a number of clean sheets.
CB: Lucas Radebe – Lucas is arguably the best ever defender we’ve produced in South Africa. Not only was he a solid defender, but Lucas was also a leader. In 1998, Rhoo became the first South African to captain an English side when he was named captain of Leeds United. Whilst he was captain, Leeds enjoyed a period of relative success; in the 1998–99 season, they finished fourth in the FA Premier League, qualifying for the UEFA Cup.
LB: Mark Fish – There is no way I’d leave out Mark Fish when naming an all-time Bafana Bafana XI. He wasn’t a left-back but I’d rather bench the likes of David Nyathi, Bradley Carnell and Tsepo Masilela to make space for the former Bolton Wanderers star. In Europe, Fish played for Lazio, Bolton Wanderers and Charlton Athletic.
John Shoes Moshoeu – Shoes played a huge part in the 1996 AFCON winning side. He deservedly wore the number 10 jersey which in those years was worn by stars and Shoes lived up to expectations. The late Moshoeu recorded over 70 caps for Bafana Bafana. He also represented Turkish giants Fenerbahce.
Steven Pienaar – Started his career at Ajax Cape Town. Schillo was one of the first youngsters who benefited from the partnership with Ajax Amsterdam. After five years at Amsterdam, Pienaar moved to Borussia Dortmund before making his name in the Premier League where he played for Everton, Tottenham and Sunderland.
Doctor Khumalo – Arguably the best ever player to don the Kaizer Chiefs jersey, hence his number 15 was retired after he left the club. Doctor Khumalo was fantastic to watch and when he was on form his team would not lose. “16V” was a fan-favorite during his playing days and he mesmerised every opponent he faced.
Sibusiso Zuma – An icon in Copenhagen where he scored 40 goals in 145 appearances. Zuma won the league in Denmark and scored one of the best goals in Danish history. The bicycle kick was voted Goal of the Decade in the Superliga.
Benni McCarthy – Arguably the best South African player of all-time. Benni is the only South African to win the UEFA Champions League and his Bafana Bafana’s leading goal scorer with 31 goals. McCarthy is also the only South African to score four goals in a single nations cup game.
Phil Masinga – Who could forget the goal that took us to the 1998 World Cup against Congo. Masinga was in the Bafana Bafana squad that won the AFCON in ‘96 and finished runners-up in 1998. “Chippa” was the first-ever South African to be sent off in an international match but will be remembered for his goal against Congo. In Europe he played for Leeds United, St. Gallen and Bari in Italy.
Coach Cliver Barker – Barker is the most successful Bafana Bafana coach after leading the nation to our only African title and also being the first coach to help us qualify for the country’s first-ever World Cup.
Notable names left out on the team – Hans Vonk, Itumeleng Khune, Helman Mkhalele, Macbeth Sibaya, Shaun Bartlett, Siyabonga Nomvethe, David Nyathi, Bradley Carnell, Tsepo Masilela and Aaron Moekena.