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,
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.