CAPE TOWN – Former Bafana Bafana star Siphiwe Tshabalala has described his wonder strike against Mexico at the 2010 World Cup as the biggest goal of his career.
On June 11, 2010, the football world’s eyes were aimed at Soccer City in Johannesburg, where Bafana Bafana and Mexico were facing each other in the opening game of that year’s Fifa World Cup, which was the first on African soil.
With 55 minutes on the clock, midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi split the Mexican defence with a brilliantly weighted through pass which Tshabala was able to get on the end of. The then Kaizer Chiefs star smashed the ball past Oscar Perez in the Mexican goal to give the home team the lead.
The Mexican eventually found an equaliser of their own, but Tshabalala’s strike will always be a special moment for the attacking midfielder, who was capped 90 times at international level.
“That was always going to be the biggest goal in my career, no matter what came after, because it touched so many lives and brought joy to so many people,” Tshabalala said in an interview with FIFA to mark two years until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
“I’ll always love it – it’s beautiful – but the goal is bigger than me as an individual.
“Although it happened ten years ago, it still feels like yesterday because I get reminders and messages from people about it every single day. It’s very humbling. That goal was special at the time, it’s special today and, for me and a lot of other people, it will be special forever.”
Bafana Bafana were brought crashing to Earth in their next game when they were beaten 3-0 by a Diego Forlan-inspired Uruguay. They did, however, end the tournament on a high when they beat a hapless French team 2-1 in Bloemfontein.
Despite Tshabalala’s heroics in the opening game, South Africa were eliminated in the first round of the competition, becoming the first host nation to do so in the history of the competition.