My Dream Team

Fan-favourite Matthew Booth en­joyed an ex­em­plary ca­reer in both the PSL and abroad, but keeps it lo­cal in choos­ing his all-time Dream XI.

Kick Off - - INSIDE -

Matthew Booth formed part of the South African squads at the 1997 Un­der-20 World Cup, the 2000 Olympic Games, the 2009 Fifa Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup and the 2010 World Cup. The now re­tired de­fender also had a suc­cess­ful club ca­reer which started with Cape Town Spurs, fol­lowed by al­most a decade in Europe be­fore see­ing out his play­ing days at Ajax Cape Town and Bid­vest Wits. Here the tall de­fender re­mains true to his roots in se­lect­ing his Dream XI.

Coach: Leonard Slut­sky

I had a lot of great coaches, and en­joyed train­ing un­der Mich d’Avray after he won the 1995 dou­ble with Cape Town Spurs. But I was im­pressed with Leonard Slut­sky when he coached me at Kr­lia Sove­tov in Rus­sia. He is one of the few Rus­sians who worked in Eng­land, and was one of the first coaches who used mod­ern tech­nol­ogy to his ad­van­tage. He had some strange but log­i­cal ideas.

1 Goal­keeper: Wayne Roberts

Wayne’s all-round nat­u­ral abil­ity was sec­ond to none and he was very ath­letic. Dur­ing our time to­gether at Cape Town Spurs and in the na­tional team, he pulled off some un­be­liev­able saves. He al­ways seemed to know which way the striker was go­ing to go. He was one of the goal­keep­ers from South Africa Sir Alex Fer­gu­son had an eye on – that’s how good he was. The fact that I have Itume­leng Khune on my bench shows how highly I rate Wayne, but un­for­tu­nately he had is­sues off the field which af­fected his growth.

2 Right-back: Nkhiphiteni Matombo

Matombo was un­der­rated, and de­served more credit than he got as he added a lot of bal­ance to our de­fence. While David Kan­nemeyer would push for­ward a lot on the left, Matombo was more de­fen­sive-minded. He was ver­sa­tile and could play as a cen­tre-back, and was a no-non­sense de­fender. He was an in­te­gral mem­ber of the ju­nior na­tional teams.

3 Left-back: David Kan­nemeyer

I spent a lot of time with David in the na­tional Un­der-20 and Un­der-23 teams and at Cape Town Spurs. He was a left-back ahead of his time as he loved go­ing for­ward and ad­ding to the at­tack. He had one of the best crosses I can re­mem­ber. We signed to­gether for Cape Town Spurs, hav­ing played against each other from Un­der-8s.

4 Cen­tre-back: Lu­cas Radebe

I played with Lu­cas for a short pe­riod of time at Bafana Bafana – he was one of the few play­ers from the Af­con 1996 squad I was able to play with. I tried my best to model my game on him, Neil Tovey and Mark Fish – I did my best to take a lit­tle bit of ev­ery­thing from all of them. I ad­mired his brav­ery, and he was a good com­mu­ni­ca­tor on and off the field. He was al­ways ac­ces­si­ble to young play­ers and that is some­thing I learned from him.

5 Cen­tre-back: Fabian Mc­Carthy

Fabian was a very good reader of the game; some cen­tre-backs are not the quick­est, but they com­pen­sate by be­ing good read­ers of the game. Fabian was also a good dis­trib­u­tor of the ball. He was un­lucky that he didn’t get a chance to go and play in the more es­tab­lished leagues in Europe, but ev­ery­one could see his qual­i­ties in the na­tional Un­der-20 and Un­der-23 teams.

6 Cen­tral mid­field: Quin­ton For­tune

Quin­ton had a great left foot and played for Manch­ester United, one of the best teams in the world. Nat­u­rally, be­ing one of the first play­ers to go over­seas, a lot of young play­ers looked up to him. At Un­der-23 level he played in the mid­dle with Abram Nteo and would link up the at­tack and the de­fence. He was great at set pieces and when he scored against Brazil in the 2000 Olympics, I was stand­ing right be­hind him.

7 Right wing: Stan­ton Fred­er­icks

Stan­ton was a great winger with an abil­ity to cut in­side and use both feet. He com­ple­mented Jabu [Mahlangu] very well and was able to break down the op­po­si­tion de­fence. He went over­seas and played in dif­fi­cult leagues like Rus­sia and Greece.

8 Cen­tral mid­field: John Moshoeu

“Shoes” was one of the very few 1996

squad mem­bers I man­aged to play with, and he was one of the most creative mid­field­ers of our gen­er­a­tion. He had silky skills and when he got in­side the op­po­si­tion box, he was a com­posed fin­isher. He was an all-round at­tack­ing mid­fielder with a great per­son­al­ity, and was a true pro­fes­sional.

9 For­ward: Raphael Chukwu

I played with Raphael at Sundowns and he was all about pure power and pace. He had a fierce shot from out­side the box – at train­ing you didn’t want to go against him. He had legs big­ger than my waist!

10 For­ward: Benni Mc­Carthy

Benni is prob­a­bly our best ex­port. He was a lethal fin­isher and some­thing we are lack­ing these days. He won the Uefa Cham­pi­ons League and played for some of the best clubs in Europe. His abil­ity to turn de­fend­ers in­side the box and score was great. His goal against Manch­ester United with a header in the Cham­pi­ons League was a great fin­ish.

11 Left wing: Jabu Mahlangu

Jabu was very tricky, the per­fect player to break down the op­po­si­tion de­fence and a great fin­isher. He knew where the goals were – he was like that. We didn’t ask him to do much de­fend­ing, and Shakes [Mashaba] would let him stay out wide and not worry about track­ing back. Off the field, he was al­ways smil­ing.

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