Sunday, May 9, 2021

John ‘Shoes’ Moshoeu left a lasting impression on Batswana

The early and late 1990s were the years when many Batswana were seriously idolising South African teams such as Kaizer Chiefs, Sundowns and Orlando Pirates. These South African teams enjoyed first-rate support from Batswana, and even when they came to Botswana for friendly or official matches, many locals still rallied behind them. This was the same story when the South African national team, Bafana Bafana was re-admitted into the international competitions. The situation worsened in 1996 when Bafana Bafana won the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations which they hosted.

Back then, some of the popular names in the South African football circles included the likes of Doctor Khumalo, Lucas Radebe, John Moshoeu, Helman Mkhalele, Mark Fish, Innocent Linda Buthelezi, Sizwe Motaung, David Nyathi, Neil Tovey, amongst many. However on Tuesday, the South African football fraternity received sad news of the passing of Moshoeu after a long battle with cancer. Moshoue made a name for himself at Kaizer Chiefs and even the national team.

Affectionately known as Shoes, he also had a tremendous impact in Botswana. He was even the darling of many in 1993 when South Africa played Botswana in their first ever friendly game in Gaborone.

South Africa went on to win the encounter 2-0 and Moshoeu was the one who scored the second goal at a packed National Stadium. He can be remembered for his dazzling speed, dribbling wizardry and his unpredictable moves once in possession of the ball. He was so skillful to an extent that in most cases, he would even dribble past the goalkeeper before finding the back of the net. Many upcoming and aspiring footballers in Botswana even nicknamed themselves ‘Shoes’ because he was an outstanding player.

In almost every corner of the country there is a player nicknamed ‘Shoes’ and several of them have even made it to the Premier League. Notable examples are the likes of Khumo ‘Shoes’ Mothabane, Amos ‘Shoes’ Godirwang, Gobonyeone ‘Shoes’ Selefa, Gaopatwe ‘Shoes’ Seosenyeng.

Moshoeu who died at the age of 49, was so outstanding and disciplined in his football career because he played football until the incredible age of 42. He earned 73 caps for the national team which he played for until the age of 38, something which is very rare in football. Moshoeu also had a career spanning for more than ten years in Turkey where he played for top teams like Fenerbahce, Genclerbirligi and Bursaspor. He will be buried tomorrow (Monday) in South Africa.

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