Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana celebrated 20 years back in international football
this weekend, and former captain Neil Tovey says it was a day he will
On July 7, 1992 South Africa were re-admitted onto football's
biggest stage, with the coach at the time, Stanley Tshabalala, leading
the side to victory over Cameroon.
Doctor Khumalo was the man to seal the win for his team that day,
slotting home an 82nd-minute penalty to defeat an Indomitable Lions
outfit that had two years earlier become the first African team to reach
the quarter-finals of a Soccer World Cup.
And Thanda Royal Zulu coach Tovey, making his international debut
wearing the captain's armband 20 years ago, admits the occasion was one
he will never forget.
"It was the significance of that game, and having the privilege
to captain my country into re-admission, I can't forget," Tovey told IOL.
"Cameroon came out of the aura of the previous World Cup and how
well they had done. To beat them in our first game having no experience
of international football was a very exciting day for the people of and
for the football of this country."
Steve Komphela lined up in the centre of defence at King's Park
Stadium that day, and the current Free State Stars coach feels the
side's relative anonymity played a key role in their shock win.
"To think that we went into that match with no background, and as a result we had no fear," said Komphela.
"What struck me immediately when I saw those guys (Cameroon) was their physique. They were huge and compelling.
"One simply could not imagine how on earth such big monsters could run at the pace they did, even in the World Cup in Italy."