A goal for all Africa by ‘Shabba’
vs Mexico, World Cup, 2010
“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.”