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Me & My 2010 World Cup Teammates


By Soccer Laduma - Mar 28, 2018 04:14 PM
They were tasked with the biggest responsibility on their shoulders – representing millions of South Africans in the first-ever FIFA World Cup to be held on the African continent. The 23 players selected by coach Carlos Alberto Parreira spent a lot of time together, in preparation for the biggest soccer event.
Soccer Laduma walks down memory lane with one of the selected few, Matthew Booth, to reminisce about the times they spent together in camp, in this ‘Me and My Teammates’ feature. To get some insight into the Bafana Bafana squad of 2010, read on.
Itumeleng Khune
“Itu probably had one of the worst tattoos we’d ever seen and got a lot of teasing from us to such an extent that, I think soon after the World Cup, he immediately had his tattoo re-done. It originally looked like he had been slapped with a wet newspaper, ha, ha, ha. Still, almost eight years later, he remains the best goalkeeper in South Africa.”
Moeneeb Josephs
“What a character! He was forever smiling, as long as he kept his teeth in. Great character to have in the change room and he’s friends with everyone. He’s an all-around a good guy but he was crazy just as most goalkeepers are.”
Shu-Aib Walters
“A true professional despite the competition he was faced with from Moeneeb and Itumeleng. He always remained focused and he’s actually a ‘normal’ goalkeeper, which was actually surprising to see. In fact, that was the first time I had met a ‘normal’ goalkeeper and, when we were in Brazil, he showed us that he can also move (dance) to the samba.”
Aaron Mokoena 
“Mbazo always stayed in the hotel room the whole time by himself. We never really knew what he was doing there by himself. He also always reminded me of Amaberet because he always had his chest out and stomach in.”
Siyabonga Sangweni
“Ntsimbi was very quiet and he always, at the dinner table, listened to whatever everybody else had to say. But I knew that if I was to ever have to pay lobola again, heaven forbid, that he would always be able to help me out with a discount on cows. I think he loved his cows more than anything in life.”  
Bongani Khumalo 
“Bongz had a solid World Cup, which saw him make a big move overseas (to Tottenham Hotspur) soon afterwards. He was always sitting at the dinner table, looking for someone to have a deep and meaningful conversation with. He spoke better English than I do and I suspect that he grew up as a ‘cheeseboy’, ha, ha, ha.”
Siboniso Gaxa
“Whenever Pa walked, it seemed like he was walking on eggshells and when he made his runs down the right-hand side, it was like he was floating, ha, ha, ha. I think his sole aim in life was to speak English as well as Bongani Khumalo did, which he couldn’t quite pull off, ha, ha, ha. Other than that, he was a great character to have on the team.”
Tsepo Masilela
“A very solid left back with vast experience. He knew when to defend and bomb forward. I think he was probably the most, in fact, the best-dressed guy in the team. I think even when we were all wearing the same tracksuits, Masilela still looked better dressed than the rest of us. I still don’t know how he pulled that one off.”
Lucas Thwala
“A very solid and aggressive left back. I was always very happy when we were at training, and had a small-sided game, and realised that Lucas was in my team because that meant that I stood a better chance of leaving the field with my ankles and knees still intact. Great guy, although he was quiet and didn’t say much. But he was always quite intense.”
Anele Ngcongca 
“My homeboy from Cape Town was probably the worst IsiXhosa teacher, ever! Whenever I wanted to learn the language by speaking to him, he would just insist on speaking English to me, ha, ha, ha. He was and still is a solid right back and that was proved by his move overseas and how long he stayed there and is still going strong.”
Lance Davids
“Lance probably had the biggest calves in the squad, so much so that Adidas had to make special socks for him so that he could be able to pull them over his ‘potris’ (calf muscles). Leading up to the World Cup, he showed us a bit of Bavaria when we were camping in Germany. He also showed us around because he was very familiar with that country, having spent most of his youth at 1860 München.”
Kagisho Dikgacoi 
“I always felt very comfortable with him playing in front of me in defensive midfield because he was a quality player. He had a good technique and range of passing. He was very quiet off the field so it was really difficult to judge what sort of a character he really was. It was always pleasant to be around him and have him on the team.”
Siphiwe Tshabalala
“Probably the most intelligent player on the field. Did certain things, on the field, which showed that he was on a completely different planet sometimes. Of course, scoring the first goal of the 2010 World Cup is something that he will forever be remembered for. The finish was just out of this world and to do so, at that stage, was just mind-blowing. It is a pity we couldn’t capitalise on that great start we had, but he’s a great guy and a good professional. He continues to show his class at Kaizer Chiefs still. He didn’t necessarily have a lot to say in the squad, but he certainly did all his talking on the field.”
Thanduyise Khuboni
“Sgonondo was a very, very shy guy and I think we camped six months leading up to the World Cup, but I don’t remember he and I exchanging a word together, ha, ha, ha. Having said that, he was a very good and calm character under pressure. He was extremely solid in defensive midfield.”
Teko Modise
“Teko was another one who enjoyed his tattoos, although I must admit I had to look very closely in order to see what the tattoos were all about because he’s so dark, ha, ha, ha. On his day, he was probably the best number 10 or creative midfielder that I’ve played with. Top class!”
Steven Pienaar 
“Schillo was a source of great inspiration as he was one of the few players who was playing in a well-established overseas league on a regular basis. On our day off, he was definitely the hubbly bubbly king. On the field, he was ‘Mr Cool’ and always had a smile on his face, never under pressure and I don’t think I have ever seen him angry.”
Macbeth Sibaya 
“He was one of the players I was closest to, so we spent a lot of time together as roommates leading up to the World Cup. Another traditionalist as well. Because of so much time we spent together, he also started to lose his hair, ha, ha, ha and that’s when I advised him to shave off his dreadlocks. He’s looking much better now without the dreadlocks. A great guy and solid midfielder with a heart of gold. He’s one of the few players that went out of their comfort zone and went on to spend many seasons in Russia. That was always something I admired him for.”
Reneilwe Letsholonyane 
“One of the hardest workers in the team and that’s why he is still a mainstay at SuperSport United. He always looked to shibobo me at training because I was probably the easiest target, ha, ha, ha. If you were looking for Yeye, you just had to look for Teko, Shabba and Khune as they were always together.”
Bernard Parker 
“Another great team player and one of the best finishers in the game. He always had a smile on his face as well and was never angry. Whenever he and Moeneeb were having a conversation in Afrikaans, I would always sit down and take notes because I’d be able to learn Afrikaans slang words from Cape Town and up in Johannesburg, ha, ha, ha.”
Siyabonga Nomvethe 
“Another traditionalist, just like Sangweni. He always had a smile on his face, a very good hard worker and a true professional. I couldn’t tease him too much because he’d always remind me of what he did to me when Mamelodi Sundowns played Kaizer Chiefs at Loftus Stadium in 2000 or 2001, ha, ha, ha.”
Katlego Mphela 
“He scored one of the best goals I have ever seen, whether on television or live at the stadium, against Spain’s Iker Casillas in the 2009 Confederations Cup. He was not the best trainer but you knew that, come game day, Killer was always going to be a threat. He’s probably one of the best finishers I have ever played with. Off the field, again, he was always quite humorous and always had a smile on his face.”
Surprise Moriri
“Eish, I was responsible for him not playing in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup as I injured him at training at Mamelodi Sundowns. So I was very relieved that he was in the squad and got to play at the 2010 World Cup, unlike myself, ha, ha, ha. He’s probably a player who had and probably still has, the best first touch that I have ever seen.” 


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Mentashe Joined: 21 Dec 2015
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Mentashe Mar 29, 2018 10:37 AM
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Xolisa{khosificated} Mar 29, 2018 07:19 AM
Lol I must go and get some cows from Sangweni too.

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