A goal for all Africa by ‘Shabba’

vs Mex­ico, World Cup, 2010

FourFourTwo - - CONTENTS -

“Goal for South Africa! Goal for all Africa!” was the cry from the com­men­ta­tor.

Siphiwe Tsha­bal­ala had just inked his name in World Cup his­tory by scor­ing the first fi­nals goal on African soil, smash­ing home to get the party started for the 2010 host na­tion. With vu­vuze­las ring­ing around the sta­dium and prac­ti­cally ev­ery non-mex­i­can in the world back­ing Bafana Bafana, the left-footer picked out the top cor­ner at Jo­han­nes­burg’s Soc­cer City to send a con­ti­nent into cel­e­bra­tion.

“Even now I’ll see the goal on Youtube or if some­one posts it on In­sta­gram, and nearly eight years later I still get goose­bumps,” Tsha­bal­ala tells Four­fourtwo. “The stakes were high as the first African coun­try to stage a World Cup, so the spot­light was on us. We didn’t get the re­sults we’d hoped for as hosts, but when peo­ple talk about that World Cup, they talk about my goal. That’s amaz­ing. It felt like a re­ward for all of my hard work. I was in good shape and had pre­pared for the tour­na­ment pretty well.” Af­ter Ful­ham mid­fielder Kag­isho Dik­ga­coi had dis­sected Mex­ico’s de­fence, ‘Shabba’ was on hand to ri­fle the ball into the top cor­ner. But the sweet strike wasn’t the Kaizer Chiefs icon’s first thought. “As soon as I’d re­ceived the ball from Kag­isho, my in­ten­tion was to con­trol it and just lob it over the keeper be­cause I thought he would be off his line,” re­veals Tsha­bal­ala. “But my first touch was per­fect, and my sec­ond thought was to un­leash a pow­er­ful shot. The con­nec­tion was great and ev­ery­thing was spot on. Ex­actly what had hap­pened only kicked in af­ter the game when I started to re­ceive a thou­sand tele­phone calls left, right and cen­tre!” The hosts even­tu­ally went out in the group stage, some­thing that still sad­dens the 33-year-old, but he’ll al­ways have his goal. “It wasn’t just a goal,” he con­cludes. “It was a goal that of­fered hope to mil­lions of peo­ple and put so many smiles on so many faces. It was a goal that united the na­tion.”

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