Amaglug-glug play­ers from 2000 have moved on since re­tir­ing

Many of the stars fell on the way­side and never re­cip­ro­cated their tal­ent

Daily Dispatch - - Sport - MAHLATSE MPHAHLELE

In 2000‚ coach Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba took an U23 side‚ bet­ter known as Amaglug­glug‚ to the Syd­ney Sum­mer Olympics in Aus­tralia in what was the first par­tic­i­pa­tion at the games by a na­tional South African foot­ball team.

Though SA failed to get out of the group‚ they no­tably stunned Brazil‚ that in­cluded Ronald­inho‚ 3-1 in Bris­bane just over 20 years ago, through goals by Quin­ton For­tune‚ Siyabonga Nomvethe and Steve Lekoe­lea.

Some of the play­ers at the tour­na­ment who went on to be­come global su­per­stars in­clude Gen­naro Gat­tuso and An­drea Pirlo of Italy‚ Ce­les­tine Baba­yaro of Nige­ria‚ Xavi and

Car­les Puyol of Spain‚ Sa­muel Eto’o of Cameroon and Hidetoshi Nakata of Ja­pan.

We went back to the files to find out how Amaglug-glug lined up against Brazil on that mem­o­rable day in Bris­bane and what those play­ers are up to now.

Emile Baron was one of the few South Africans based over­seas at that time with Lillestrøm in Nor­way. He was forced to re­tire in 2013 af­ter a leg in­jury while at Bid­vest Wits, but has since made a full re­cov­ery and is look­ing for a coach­ing job.

Fabian “Fab­u­lous” McCarthy part­nered Matthew Booth in cen­tral de­fence and they stood their ground against one of the best at­tack­ing units at the tour­na­ment. He does coach­ing clin­ics and is a tele­vi­sion pun­dit.

As cap­tain of the team‚ Matthew Booth led from the front. He en­joyed a suc­cess­ful ca­reer in SA and Rus­sia and now sits on the dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tee of the PSL and Drug Free Sports SA. He is a mem­ber of the SA Foot­ball Leg­ends and is also a tele­vi­sion pun­dit.

David Kan­nemeyer played at left-back where he was up against the speedy and tricky Brazil­ian wingers. He re­tired hav­ing played for teams such as Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sun­downs and he re­cently had coach­ing stints with lower di­vi­sion sides Magic FC and Nova Na­cional FC.

Aaron “Mbazo’ Mokoena was used ei­ther at cen­tral de­fence or right-back by coach Shakes Mashaba. He was at Ajax Am­s­ter­dam in Hol­land at the time. He had a long ca­reer that took him to Ger­many‚ Bel­gium and Eng­land. He runs his own foot­ball academy in the Vaal and is a busi­ness­man.

Quin­ton For­tune al­ready had a rep­u­ta­tion be­cause he was play­ing for Manch­ester United and he scored the open­ing goal with a thun­der­ous free-kick.

He is now the first team coach at Read­ing FC in Eng­land.

Abram ‘Wire’ Nteo had the thank­less job in the heart of the mid­field as a de­fen­sive mid­field. Af­ter re­tire­ment‚ he went into coach­ing with Bloem­fontein Celtic ju­niors and is as­sis­tant coach to John Maduka.

Jabu ‘Shuf­fle’ Pule Mahlangu was a key mem­ber of the at­tack­ing force of the team but his ca­reer was blighted by prob­lems off the field. He is an am­bas­sador for Su­perS­port United‚ a tele­vi­sion pun­dit and busi­ness­man.

Del­ron Buck­ley went about his busi­ness qui­etly but ef­fec­tively. He called it quits af­ter a suc­cess­ful ca­reer in Ger­many and Switzer­land and now runs a soc­cer school in KwaZu­luNatal.

One of coach Shakes Mashaba’s favourites‚ Nkosi­nathi Nh­leko, was re­placed early in the first half by Siyabonga Nomvethe. He re­tired af­ter a jour­ney­man ca­reer that took him to Nor­way‚ USA and Swe­den and is now in­volved in min­ing.

The most recog­nis­able player in the team‚ Benni McCarthy, was based in Spain with Celta Vigo.

When he re­tired af­ter a glo­ri­ous ca­reer with Ajax Am­s­ter­dam‚ Celta Vigo‚ Porto‚ Black­burn‚ West Ham and Orlando Pi­rates‚ he went into coach­ing.

He holds a Uefa pro coach­ing li­cence and coached Cape Town City where he won the MTN8 tro­phy. As a player‚ he re­mains the only South African player to win the Uefa Cham­pi­ons League with Porto in 2004.

Sub­sti­tute Nkosi­nathi Nh­leko scored the bril­liant header that in­creased SA’s lead to 2-1 in the sec­ond half and at the age of 42 he played for Uthon­gathi in the GladAfrica Cham­pi­onship last sea­son.

Hav­ing come on as a first half sub­sti­tute‚ Siyabonga Nomvethe twisted his an­kle in the clos­ing stages and was re­placed by Mat­sau. Mat­sau now coaches Sport­ing FC in the SAB League in his home­town of Al­lan­ridge near Welkom.

Steve ‘Chippa’ Lekoe­lea put mat­ters be­yond doubt on the stroke of full time for what re­mains one of SA’s most mem­o­rable foot­ball mo­ments.

He is in­volved in coach­ing at ju­nior level in his home­town of Se­bo­keng and does am­bas­sado­rial work.

Pic­ture: CLIVE BRUNSKILL /ALLSPORT

TOP PER­FORMER: Benni McCarthy is the most suc­ces­ful play­ers from the SAU23 2000 Olympic team as he went to play for Celta Vigo , Ajax Am­s­ter­dam, FC Porto and Black­burn Rovers.

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