John Moeti was a fighter, both on and off the field, with a determined demeanour and steely resolve. The kind of player you wanted on your side.
His passing at the age of 55 on Monday, after a brief illness, was announced by his family and comes as a shock to the footballing fraternity.
A statement said: “It is with profound sadness and a deep sense of loss that we inform you of the passing of John ‘Dungi’ Moeti. John suddenly took ill eight months ago and was receiving specialist medical care. John succumbed to his illness in the early hours of this morning (February 6) at home, surrounded by his family and brethren in prayer. We thank you sincerely for your prayers and steadfast support. The family wishes to be afforded privacy during this time of loss, and funeral details will be advised in due course.”
He is one of the few players with the distinction of having won Africa’s top two prizes … and in Moeti’s case within months of each other.
He was a member of the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations-winning squad as South Africa took the continental title in February 1996, just two months after helping Orlando Pirates to overcome ASEC Abidjan to win the African Champions Cup.
Later he became a redoubtable leader of the players union, continuing his fight off the field, having had his own problems as a player and leaving Pirates at the end of a contract dispute. But he will be best remembered for the way he played … without fear and without taking any prisoners.
He was small in stature and this probably counted against him going overseas at a time when all the top South African players were scouted. But it allowed him to establish himself in the team after the 1996 Nations Cup and he went onto play at the 1998 finals too, including the deciding match against Egypt after having been sent off in the first round.
Unfortunately he broke his ankle before the 1998 World Cup and missed out on the tournament. Such was the sympathy for Moeti that he was taken along to France anyway by the South African Football Association.
He captained South Africa in four of his 29 international appearances and at club level he won all of South Africa’s domestic league prizes … the league, the Bob Save Super Bowl, the JPS Knockout Cup and the BP Top Eight Cup, and ended his career at SuperSport United.
By Mark Gleeson (via www.mtnfc.co.za)