Probably one of the best goalkeepers to have come out of South Africa since the dawn of democracy, former Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Brian ‘Spiderman’ Baloyi wrote his name in the history of South African football.
Born in Alexandra township in Johannesburg, Baloyi started his career with local club Alexandra United before harnessing his development at clubs like Longhorn, Wits University, Highlands Park and Balfour.
It wasn’t long before Baloyi’s exploits in goal attracted scouts and coaches across Johannesburg with Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs the fastest of the pack to get the shot stopper’s signature.
Baloyi made his league debut in 1993 for Amakhosi, in fact the goalkeeper arrived at a time when Chiefs had just won back-to-back National Soccer League titles with Doctor Khumalo, Lucas Radebe, Ace Khuse and many others doing well at the club. Between 1993 and 1997 Chiefs won one Top Eight trophy and one Knockout trophy.
Chiefs also finished as runners up behind Manning Rangers in the 1996/97 season.
After missing out on the 1996 AFCON squad that won the continental showpiece on home soil under coach Clive Barker, ‘Spiderman’ later made his debut for the South African national team in 1997 after being promoted from the U-23 side.
Baloyi was the main man in goal for Bafana Bafana as they went all the way to the 1998 AFCON final in Burkina Faso with South Africa defeated 2-0 by Egypt.
The keeper would later be named by Coach Phillip Trousier in his squad for South Africa’s maiden FIFA World Cup campaign in France in 1998. First choice goalkeeper Andre Arendse featured for most of the tournament as South Africa’s two draws and a loss against hosts France wasn’t enough to get past the group stage of the global showpiece.
Coach Trott Moloto took over towards the 2000 AFCON in Ghana and Nigeria, but unfortunately ‘Spiderman ‘ missed out on the final squad with Bafana finishing third in that tournament co-hosted by the two Western African countries.
Baloyi featured in the 2002 AFCON under coach Carloz Quieroz as South Africa lost in the quarter final against the tournament hosts, Mali. After earning 24 international caps with the national team that would be Spiderman’s final tournament with the national side.
Back in club football Baloyi was a regular for ‘The Glamour Boys’ as they pushed to win the league under the new Premier Soccer League finishing as runners up in the 2000/01 season before ultimately winning it in 2003/04. Chiefs also won the MTN8, the Telkom Knockout three times and the Nedbank Cup once between 1997 and 2004 with Baloyi now amongst the senior players that guided a new exciting crop of youngsters.
After 11 years at Chiefs, ‘Spiderman’ decided to join Chiefs’s rivals Mamelodi Sundowns where he played for six seasons between 2004 and 2010. When Baloyi arrived at Sundowns the ‘Brazilians’ hadn’t done well in the 2000s era, but in 2006 the club’s fortunes changed under co-coaches Neil Tovey and Miguel Gamondi who won the 7th League title in the history of the club – this was Spiderman’s second league title in three years.
The next season the co-coaches were sacked and former Manning Rangers coach Gordon Igesund took over and he lived up to expectations defending the league title and winning the 2007 SAA Supa 8.
In 2008 Sundowns lost in the final of the Absa Cup against Ajax Cape Town. ‘Spiderman’ featured in a total of 75 games for ‘The Brazilians ‘ in the 6 years he spent with the Tshwane side.
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By Prince Sobayeni