“It is 10 years later and time flies, but people make sure you don’t forget and there are constant reminders of what I did on the day. Wherever I go, people still want to talk about and relive the goal.”
These are the words uttered by former Bafana Bafana midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala, who is still taken aback by the intensity of the ‘hype’ around his ‘thunderbolt’ on the big stage and the emotions it continues to evoke among African football fans.
Today marks the 10-year anniversary of the 2010 FIFA World Cup hosted on the African continent for the first time and ‘Shabba’ looks back on the historic event and reveals that “this is a day that never goes by every year without being celebrated.”
“No matter where I am I will always get messages from people wanting to talk and relive the game or the goal, or just wanting to compliment me for what I did on the day, some just want to reminisce.
“Fans don’t give me a chance to forget, they tag me on their posts or would stop me in the streets to take pictures, like when I was in Hong Kong on vacation,” said Tshabalala.
“The minute they recognised me I had to pose for photos. Who would have thought that a boy from Soweto would be stopped on the streets of Hong Kong to take pictures with eager and excited fans?
“The goal was the greatest moment of my life and my career. It made me realise that what I did was bigger than me, bigger than all of us, because of the impact it had on the lives of many South Africans.
“It is not just about the goal, but also a sense of how big the occasion was. We were the first, and to date the only country on this continent to host such a big sporting event, and all eyes were on us. As a player it was a dream come true – playing in the first FIFA World Cup on home soil. So, we are talking about history on top of history,” added the former Kaizer Chiefs star.
Tshabalala, who remained humble and learned to remain level-headed, believes that he has a bigger purpose, especially off the field.
“I always say to people if a situation like this does not change me and make me humble, nothing else will. For me, a request for an interview is an opportunity for someone to hear the story over and over again, and to relive the moment, and I never take that for granted.
“It is again a reminder that this was a big moment for the world, and I am glad I was part of it. It is important to share the moment with other people, as it may change their lives in one way or the other, so that is why it important to remain humble, so that you don’t get tired of doing what could be a lifesaver to the next person,” concluded the former Bafana midfielder.
— Siphiwe Tshabalala (@siphiweshabba) June 11, 2020
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By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi