Cape Town - Former Ajax Cape Town and Bafana Bafana defender Matthew Booth played the hero in the early hours of Saturday by defending a woman being beaten up in Long Street - and ended up with an injured thigh and hand for his trouble.
Booth, who with his model and businesswoman wife Sonia are hailed as South Africa’s power couple, got embroiled in the scuffle with the woman’s attacker after he joined friends for drinks on the city’s nightclub strip.
He had come fresh from playing for Bidvest Wits in the first Absa Premiership game, hosted at Cape Town Stadium on Friday night.
Booth and his wife were married in a fairytale Top Billing wedding in 2006.
The couple has two sons, Nathan and Noah, and are routinely described as unassuming, warm and sincere – and a far cry from the scandal-ridden world of spoilt soccer stars and WAGS.
On Friday, Booth’s team suffered a defeat against Ajax, who managed a 1-0 win.
But despite sports reports of a missed “opportunity” to score during the soccer match, Booth did not miss out on the opportunity to jump to the defence of the woman in Long Street.
A family friend, who did not want to be named, said the towering defender had gone to use an ATM early on Saturday.
While walking back to his friends, he saw the man hitting the woman, and rushed to her aid.
Booth, he added, had been angered when the man began assaulting the woman.
“He gashed himself on his thigh and left hand,” the friend said.
During a brief tussle, the alleged attacker shoved Booth, who toppled backwards against a vacant store’s window ledge which was lined with spikes to prevent people sitting on it.
“He crashed against the shop’s window and he was bleeding profusely because he scraped against the window sill’s spikes.
“But he was lucky because his height saved him,” recalled Sean Dalton, who witnessed the incident.
Dalton had been taking a walk when he spotted Booth and the man involved in a tussle.
“He was visibly shaken and in a state of shock. The CCID guys (Central City Improvement District) stopped and took the man away,” Dalton said.
He added that there had been about five other people in close proximity to the scene.
Booth’s friend said he had returned to his hotel where the team doctor attended to his injuries.
Provincial police spokesman Lieutenant Andrè Traut said there was no record of an arrest for the assault.
But in an SMS response to the Weekend Argus on Saturday afternoon, Booth lauded the police for being “prompt and professional”.
“Nothing taken except my pride,” he quipped of the ordeal.
Online reports later on Saturday were that Booth had already returned to Johannesburg with his teammates.