More than just a GAME

July 7, 7 2017 marks 25 years since Bafana Bafana played their first in­ter­na­tional, in­ter­na­tional a 1-0 win over a much-vaunted Cameroon on a rainy night in Dur­ban. Coach Stan­ley “Screamer” Tsha­bal­ala, and play­ers who fea­tured that night, Steve Komphela,

Kick Off - - Feature Bafana Bafana - BY NICK SAID | Twit­ter: @nick­said | IL­LUS­TRA­TIONS BY CLAU­DIO BARREIRO

South Africa picked tough op­po­nents for their re­turn to in­ter­na­tional foot­ball, with Danny Jor­daan trav­el­ling to Cameroon on be­half of the South African Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion to sign up the na­tion who had thrilled fans at the World Cup in Italy two years be­fore, reach­ing the quar­ter-fi­nals against all odds. The open­ing game of a three­match tour would be played at the King’s Park Rugby Sta­dium in Dur­ban, with South Africa win­ning 1-0 as a reluc­tant Doc­tor Khu­malo con­verted a penalty some­what gen­er­ously awarded by ref­eree Je­las Ma­sole, who ob­vi­ously had a sense of oc­ca­sion. It would be the start of a roller­coaster ride for the na­tional side over the next two-and-a-half decades, but for those who played on that historic night, it will live long in the mem­ory and goes far be­yond just a game of foot­ball. Here is their ac­count of the vic­tory and the emo­tions that went with it.

WE WERE PLAY­ING AGAINST OUR HE­ROES, GUYS WE HAD SEEN ON TELE­VI­SION AND WHO HAD DONE SO WELL AT THE 1990 WORLD CUP.WE WERE IN AWE OF THEM AND WHEN I LOOKED AT THEM ON THE FIELD, I THOUGHT THEY LOOKED LIKE TRUE IN­TER­NA­TIONAL STARS.

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