I can bet my last cent, for whatever its worth in these trying economic times, that not too many people knew who Oscarine Masukule was before last Wednesday night.
However by Thursday morning and right through the day, the Baroka FC shot-stopper was trending not only in Mzansi, but globally.
The unassuming 28-year-old had done the unthinkable. With his side trailing Orlando Pirates by a single goal and the fourth official having indicated a minimum of five minutes of injury time, Baroka were awarded a corner in the final minute.
Just as goalkeepers have done over the years in such situations, Masukule rushed up to the Pirates 18-yard area to attack the ball from the corner kick.
Even when the ball was cleared, the goalkeeper did not rush back to his goal like a mad man but chased it down and in a flash unleashed a scissors-kick that saw the ball sail over the opposing defenders and his opposite number to land snuggly at the back of the net.
What followed was a well-orchestrated dance routine that Masukule seemed to have been practicing and perfecting his whole life.
If ever there was a life-changing moment, this must be one for Masukule.
His heroics made headlines globally and his goal and celebration were trending worldwide.
Masukule’s goal came as a soothing effect (apologies to Pirates fans that are likely not to see it that way) in a week that saw the SA senior women’s national football team - Banyana Banyana - succumb to Nigeria in the semi-finals of the CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
The Falcons of Nigeria have been Banyana Banyana’s nemesis for more than a decade now.
Every time the two nations have met in an official match, Banyana have come a cropper.
As a result the South African team continues to be perennial bridesmaids in the continental tournament having faltered at the semi-final stage several times.
These point to stagnation in women’s football in this country. What does this mean?
It means football authorities need to do something to move women football further.
How can this be done?
First we need proper development structures for women football in this country. A huge change in attitude is also required as women are still heavily discriminated against.
You don’t have to look any further than the discrepancies in treatment between Banyana Banyana and their male counterparts, Bafana Bafana.
There is a great need for a national league for women. This would ensure that women play at a high level and professionally week in and week out.
So there is a huge challenge out there for an organisation like the South African Football Association (SAFA) which is the custodian of the game in this country, to ensure that there are proper structures that are conducive to the growth of women football.
So while Masukule basks in the glory of his glorious strike that left many a striker green with envy, SAFA has some homework if not a headache to deal with.
S'Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading
sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of
the biggest awards in a career spanning over 30 years. He is currently
City Press Sports Editor.
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