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Profiling South Africa’s heroes of Sydney 2000

A handful played in every single match, some appeared just once. These are the men who played for the Under-23s during qualifying for the Olympics, and at the Olympic Games in Australia in September 2000.

Name: Brian Baloyi

Date of Birth: 16/3/74

Position: Goalkeeper

Clubs: Kaizer Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns

Bafana Bafana caps: 24

Already an experienced international goalkeeper, having been Bafana’s first choice at the 1998 Africa Cup of Nations, ‘Spiderman’ travelled to Australia as a permitted overage player, but was not used other than in a 1-0 defeat to the host nation in a warm-up match. Baloyi had the honour of captaining both Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns during a trophy-laden career, and was capped 24 times by South Africa at full international level.

Name: Emile Baron

Date of Birth: 17/6/79

Position: Goalkeeper

Clubs: Hellenic, Lillestrom (Norway), Kaizer Chiefs, SuperSport United, Bidvest Wits

Bafana Bafana caps: 6

Baron was an ever-present throughout the qualifying campaign, and during the Olympics itself. A product of Hellenic, he later turned out for Kaizer Chiefs and SuperSport United, and won six Bafana caps, but probably did not achieve what he should have, given his talent.

Name: Matthew Booth

Date of Birth: 14/3/77

Position: Centre-back

Clubs: Cape Town Spurs, Mamelodi Sundowns, FC Rostov, Krylia Sovetov (both Russia), Ajax Cape Town, Bidvest Wits

Bafana Bafana caps: 28 (1 goal)

Towering centre-back and captain, and one of three ever-presents during qualification and at the Olympics. A product of Cape Town Spurs/Ajax Cape Town, Booth was at Mamelodi Sundowns at the time of the Olympics. He later moved to Russia where he was regarded as one of the best foreign defenders in that league. Having amassed 35 Under-23 caps, Booth played 28 times for Bafana Bafana.

Name: Delron Buckley

Date of Birth: 7/12/77

Position: Midfielder

Clubs: VfL Bochum, Arminia Bielefeld, Borussia Dortmund (all Germany), FC Basel (Switzerland), Mainz (Germany), Anorthosis Famagusta (Greece), Karlsruher (Germany), Maritzburg United

Bafana Bafana caps: 73 (10 goals)

The first South African international to lift silverware - as national Under-17 captain during a Cosafa tournament - Buckley established himself in Germany as a young player, turning out for VfL Bochum, Arminia Bielefeld, Borussia Dortmund, Mainz and Karlsruher before winding down his career at Maritzburg United. Coach Mashaba selected the midfielder just once during the qualifiers, although he was an ever-present during the Olympics. He played 73 times for Bafana Bafana.

Name: Bradley Carnell

Date of Birth: 21/1/77

Position: Left-back

Clubs: Wits University, Kaizer Chiefs, VfB Stuttgart, Borussia Monchengladbach, Karlsruher, Hansa Rostock (all Germany), SuperSport United

Bafana Bafana caps: 42

A veteran of Mich d’Avray’s Under-23 squad, the left-back was already a Bundesliga player, at VfB Stuttgart when he made a single appearance under Mashaba at the very start of the qualifying campaign, a 2-0 win at home to Togo in the preliminary round, for his 23rd and last Under-23 cap. Capped 42 times by Bafana Bafana, he started out at Wits University and played briefly for Kaizer Chiefs before enjoying a decade-long career in Germany. Currently serves as assistant coach at MLS side New York Red Bulls.

Name: Rowen Fernandez

Date of Birth: 28/2/77

Position: Goalkeeper

Clubs: Wits University, Kaizer Chiefs, Arminia Bielefeld (Germany), SuperSport United

Bafana Bafana caps: 23

The Wits University keeper did not travel to Australia but was one of four players who remained in South Africa on stand-by. Fernandez went on to star for Kaizer Chiefs, before joining German club Arminia Bielefeld 2007. He later played for SuperSport United and Bidvest Wits, and was capped 23 times for Bafana Bafana.

Name: Quinton Fortune

Date of Birth: 21/5/77

Position: Midfielder

Clubs: Atletico Madrid, Mallorca (both Spain), Manchester United, Bolton Wanderers (both England), Brescia (Italy), Tubize (Belgium), Doncaster Rovers (England)

Bafana Bafana caps: 47 (2 goals)

One of the big names in the squad, Fortune was a Manchester United player during the Olympics, having previously been on the books of Atletico Madrid. He played just four times during qualifying but appeared in the first two matches in Australia, opening the scoring against Brazil with a magical free-kick. He missed the crucial final match against Slovakia through suspension. Fortune played 47 times for Bafana Bafana.

Name: Stanton Fredericks

Date of Birth: 13/6/77

Position: Wide midfielder

Clubs: Wits University, Grasshoppers Zurich (Switzerland), Kaizer Chiefs, FC Moscow (Russia), Orlando Pirates, SuperSport United, Pierikos FC (Greece), Bidvest Wits

Bafana Bafana caps: 14 (2 goals)

The Wits University man missed just one match in qualifying, but was used sparingly in Australia. He joined Grasshoppers Zurich after the Olympics, but soon returned to South Africa to sign for Kaizer Chiefs, where he was part of a successful side over the next few seasons. He later played in Russia and Greece, and had a brief spell with Orlando Pirates before returning to Wits. ‘Stiga’ played 14 times for Bafana Bafana.

Name: Thiyikile Gulwa

Date of Birth: 11/12/78

Position: Midfielder

Clubs: Bloemfontein Celtic, AmaZulu, Golden Arrows

Bafana Bafana caps: 1

Bloemfontein Celtic’s ‘Ace’ Gulwa saw a fair amount of action as cover for a star-studded midfield, mostly coming on as a substitute, but he missed the cut for the Olympics. He signed for Golden Arrows in 2003, dropping into the lower divisions three years later and hanging up his boots in 2011. Capped 17 times by AmaGlug-glug and once by Bafana.

Name: David Kannemeyer

Date of Birth: 8/7/77

Position: Left-back

Clubs: Cape Town Spurs/Ajax Cape Town, Kaizer Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns, SuperSport United

Bafana Bafana caps: 1

The Capetonian left-back was one of three players to start every qualifying match, plus all three in Australia. Kannemeyer went on to enjoy massive success at Kaizer Chiefs, Sundowns and SuperSport United, winning the League title with all three, and played 15 times for Bafana Bafana.

Name: Lebo Kukame

Date of Birth: 4/6/78

Position: Striker

Clubs: Bloemfontein Celtic, Jomo Cosmos, SuperSport United, Santos, Manning Rangers, Maritzburg United

Bafana Bafana caps: 7 (1 goal)

The genial Bloemfontein Celtic striker won three caps during the qualifying campaign, starting in the final play-off game against New Zealand. He was one of the four standby players who did not travel to Australia. Kukame had two spells at Celtic and also played for Jomo Cosmos, Manning Rangers, SuperSport United and Santos, and went on to win seven Bafana caps, most of them after Mashaba took over as national coach in 2001.

Name: Steve Lekoelea

Date of Birth: 5/2/79

Position: Midfielder

Clubs: Moroka Swallows, Orlando Pirates, Maritzburg United, Platinum Stars, Mbabane Highlanders (Swaziland)

Bafana Bafana caps: 10

Orlando Pirates fan favourite Lekoelea was not a regular during qualifying, but after setting up Daniel Matsau’s late winner in the final play-off match against New Zealand, he found himself more frequently utilised at the Olympics, coming on as a sub to score the third goal in the win over Brazil, and coming on again in the final match. ‘Chippa’ went on to play ten times for Bafana Bafana.

Name: Jabu (Pule) Mahlangu

Date of Birth: 11/7/80

Position: Midfielder

Clubs: Kaizer Chiefs, SV Mattersburg (Austria), SuperSport United, Orlando Pirates, Osters IF (Sweden), Platinum Stars, FC Cape Town

Bafana Bafana caps: 20 (2 goals)

The Kaizer Chiefs tyro was not yet 20 when he helped AmaGlug-glug qualify for the Olympics, and he went on to start the famous match against Brazil, lasting 55 minutes before he was replaced by Lekoelea. Mahlangu left Chiefs in 2004 after a number of trophy-rich seasons, signing for SV Mattersburg. ‘Shuffle’ became something of a journeyman thereafter, turning out for Chiefs’ archrivals Orlando Pirates, SuperSport United, Swedish club Osters and Platinum Stars. He played 20 times for Bafana.

Name: Hareaipha Marumo

Date of Birth: 6/1/78

Position: Striker

Clubs: Chernomorets, Septemvri (both Bulgaria), Mamelodi Sundowns, Moroka Swallows, Silver Stars/Platinum Stars

Bafana Bafana caps: 1

‘Simba’ Marumo played for Sundowns, Moroka Swallows and Platinum Stars, and had a spell in Bulgaria early in his career. The dreadlocked striker won eight Under-23 caps - three during the qualifying campaign - but was not in Australia. He was capped once at full international level.

Name: Nkhiphitheni Matombo

Date of Birth: 31/1/77

Position: Centre-back

Clubs: Dynamos, Manning Rangers, Black Leopards

Bafana Bafana caps: 0

Matombo was a big, raw centre-back and a big favourite of coach Shakes Mashaba, winning well over 20 Under-23 caps. A product of Dynamos, he played mainly for Manning Rangers but never cemented a regular first team place. He returned north to join Black Leopards in 2003, where he played under Mashaba again. Within a few years, Matombo had drifted out of the first-class game, having never graduated to full international status.

Name: Daniel Matsau

Date of Birth: 31/1/77

Position: Striker

Clubs: Hellenic, Kaizer Chiefs, Bloemfontein Celtic, SuperSport United, Moroka Swallows, Black Aces, City Pillars

Bafana Bafana caps: 1

Standing just 1.58m tall, ‘Masaro’ was a skilful forward with an eye for goal. He started six qualifying ties and scored four times, including the decider against New Zealand in Vosloorus, when he came off the bench. Came on as an 84th minute substitute during the momentous win over Brazil at the Olympics. Probably made a mistake in leaving Hellenic for Kaizer Chiefs where competition for places was fierce, as he was never able to win a regular first team place, and after leaving Naturena became something of a journeyman. Still managed to win one Bafana cap though.

Name: Sibusiso Mazibuko

Date of Birth: 3/4/77

Position: Winger

Clubs: Moroka Swallows, AmaZulu, Orlando Pirates, Bush Bucks

Bafana Bafana caps: 0

Skilful Moroka Swallows winger ‘Tso’ Mazibuko was a late replacement for Benni McCarthy ahead of the top-of-the table clash with Cameroon in Yaounde on February 26, 2000, and came on as a substitute for Patrick Mbuthu during the match, which South Africa lost 2-0. It was one of the two Under-23 caps he won, and he did not make the Olympics squad. Played briefly for Orlando Pirates but was never capped at full international level.

Name: Patrick Mbuthu

Date of Birth: 3/2/77

Position: Midfielder

Clubs: QwaQwa Stars, Kaizer Chiefs, Manning Rangers

Bafana Bafana caps: 1

Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Mbuthu was among the outstanding performers during qualifying; an ever-present anchoring the midfield with aplomb. Sadly for him, injury put paid to his Olympic dreams and he had to settle for a place among the non-traveling players on standby. Mbuthu might have enjoyed a great career had he overcome his discipline issues. This hugely talented midfielder played over 30 times for the Under-23s, but only managed one Bafana cap.

Name: Benni McCarthy

Date of Birth: 12/11/77

Position: Striker

Clubs: Seven Stars, Cape Town Spurs, Ajax Amsterdam (Netherlands), Celta Vigo (Spain), FC Porto (Portugal), Blackburn Rovers, West Ham United (both England), Orlando Pirates

Bafana Bafana caps: 80 (31 goals)

Already an established star, having graduated via Seven Stars and Cape Town Spurs to sign for Dutch superclub Ajax, McCarthy was a Celta Vigo player during the 2000 Olympics. He went on to win the UEFA Champions League with Porto, and later starred for Blackburn Rovers - finishing second top scorer in the Premier League behind Didier Drogba - and Orlando Pirates. He is Bafana Bafana’s all-time top scorer with 31 goals from 80 caps.

Name: Fabian McCarthy

Date of Birth: 13/5/77

Position: Centre-back

Clubs: Bloemfontein Celtic, Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs, Moroka Swallows, Maritzburg United, Mpumalanga Black Aces

Bafana Bafana caps: 10

A versatile defender who served the team well, McCarthy was on the books of Apollon FC in Cyprus at the time of the Olympics, but was soon wearing a Sundowns shirt. Originally a Bloemfontein Celtic player, McCarthy joined Kaizer Chiefs in 2003 and gave them great service over the next five years. He played 10 times for Bafana Bafana.

Name: Musa Mntakwende

Date of Birth: 25/2/78

Position: Right-back

Clubs: AmaZulu, Golden Arrows, Kaizer Chiefs

Bafana Bafana caps: 0

The right-back played just once during the qualifiers; as a stand-in for Aaron Mokoena in the vital second leg play-off match against New Zealand at Vosloorus (Fabian McCarthy moved into the centre for this match). He was not in the final Olympics squad. Mntakwende played for AmaZulu and Golden Arrows, before signing for Kaizer Chiefs in 2001. He failed to get a game at the Glamour Club and quit playing at a relatively young age.

Name: Mzunani Mgwigwi

Date of Birth: 17/11/78

Position: Midfielder

Clubs: Umtata Bucks

Bafana Bafana caps: 0

Being a year younger than his teammates, Mzunani Mgwigwi of Umtata Bush Bucks was largely used as cover in midfield, appearing four times during qualifying and was on standby during the Olympics. He served Bush Bucks until the owners sold their status in 2006. These days he is a lower division coach.

Name: Aaron Mokoena

Date of Birth: 25/11/80

Position: Centre-back

Clubs: Jomo Cosmos, Ajax Amsterdam (Netherlands), Germinal Beerschot (Belgium), Blackburn Rovers, Portsmouth (both England), Bidvest Wits

Bafana Bafana caps: 107 (1 goal)

South Africa’s most-capped international with 107, Mokoena was an ever-present alongside Matthew Booth at the Olympics, and played in seven qualifiers. The former Jomo Cosmos centre-back was on the books of Ajax Amsterdam but, after failing to break through, forged a career in Belgium and later England, where he played for Blackburn Rovers and Portsmouth.

Name: Nkosinathi Nhleko

Date of Birth: 24/7/79

Position: Forward

Clubs: Jomo Cosmos, Brann (Norway), FC Dallas (United States), Viking (Norway), Hammarby (Sweden), Sandefjord (Norway), Thanda Royal Zulu, Kaizer Chiefs, Manzini Sundowns (Swaziland)

Bafana Bafana caps: 10 (1 goal)

The burly Jomo Cosmos forward was in and out of the side during the qualifiers, but saw action in all three matches during the Olympics. Capped 10 times by Bafana, he spent much of his career in Scandinavia and the USA, with occasional stints back at Cosmos. Towards the end of his career he had a two-season stint at Kaizer Chiefs.

Name: Siyabonga Nomvethe

Date of Birth: 2/11/77

Position: Forward

Clubs: African Wanderers, Kaizer Chiefs, Udinese, Salernitana, Empoli (all Italy), Djurgardens (Sweden), Orlando Pirates, Aalborg BK (Denmark), Moroka Swallows, AmaZulu

Bafana Bafana caps: 82 (16 goals)

A fan favourite at Kaizer Chiefs, who had plucked him from African Wanderers, the speedy Nomvethe scored South Africa’s first goal at the Olympics, and netted again in the win over Brazil. ‘Bhele’ went on to spend a number of years in Italy, turned out briefly for Orlando Pirates, and then gave many years service to Moroka Swallows. He is the only member of the Class of 2000 still playing, turning out Uthongathi in the National First Division.

Name: Abram Nteo

Date of Birth: 15/7/77

Position: Midfield

Clubs: Bloemfontein Celtic, Hellenic, Zulu Royals (AmaZulu), African Warriors

Bafana Bafana caps: 0

Mashaba’s ‘Little Lion’ was a wholehearted, honest performer who always gave 100 percent. A regular during qualifying, playing in seven of the 10 games, Nteo started every match at the Olympics. Sadly for him, September 2000 proved to be the pinnacle of his career as his club, Bloemfontein Celtic, was relegated at the end of that season and it was a couple of seasons before he saw Premiership action again. Currently an assistant coach at Chippa United, he was previously involved with Celtic’s MDC team.

Name: Dillon Sheppard

Date of Birth: 27/2/79

Position: Winger

Clubs: Seven Stars/Ajax Cape Town, Dinamo Moscow (Russia), Panionios (Greece), Mamelodi Sundowns, Platinum Stars, Golden Arrows, Maritzburg United, Bidvest Wits

Bafana Bafana caps: 18

The technically gifted Ajax Cape Town winger was much younger than the rest of the squad, and was used just once by Mashaba, starting the crucial 3-2 play-off win away to New Zealand, and did not travel to Australia. A product of the School of Excellence’s first intake and then Seven Stars, Sheppard went on to win 18 Bafana caps. Left Ajax in 2004 for Dinamo Moscow, and later played in Greece. Upon returning to South Africa, he played for a number of clubs, most notably Mamelodi Sundowns.


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