JOHANNESBURG - Just a day before making his Bafana Bafana debut against Botswana on Saturday, Ryan Moon spoke about how wonderful it would be for him to be selected in the starting line-up, and also score in his first match for the senior national team.
All that was nothing but a wish for the 20-year-old from Pietermaritzburg. The Kaizer Chiefs’ centre-forward did not really expect that Stuart Baxter would give him the nod to start ahead of the other strikers in the squad. As for him scoring, well Moon only dreamt.
Incredibly, that was how it turned out. Moon found the opposition net just 28 minutes after having sung the national anthem for the first time in Bafana Bafana colours.
That goal propelled Bafana to push for a second and that goal duly came via Gift Motupa on 72 minute for a 2-0 second round, first leg African Nations Championship (Chan) qualifier win in Botswana.
However, that game was not televised. And that meant Ryan's older brother Bryce, his parents and other siblings didn’t get to see their loved one get onto a list of great former Bafana players such as the late John ‘Shoes’ Moshoeu, Rudolph Seale, Doctor Khumalo, Jabu Mahlangu and Katlego Mphela - to mention but a few - who also scored on their senior national team debuts.
The Moon family had to follow that match online. Asked how he felt about scoring on debut, a clearly elated Moon said: “It feel so great,” he gushed “I’m still happy.
“It’s true when they say that dreams do actually come true. We (Moon and teammates) spoke about the possibility (of starting) just before the game. And it happened.
"My phone was abuzz with messages by the time I got to the hotel. All of my friends and family were busy sending me congratulatory messages after what I was able to achieve on my debut.
“The first people I called were my parents,” Moon adds. “Both mom and dad put me on loudspeaker so that I could speak to the rest of the family. They were all excited for me. My dad said he almost got a heart attack because the game was not televised and they had to follow it online.
"When they saw that Bafana had scored, they were left anxious as they waited to find out who was the scorer. My brother was the first one to pick it up it was me and the rest of the (family) were super excited for me.”
Bafana will lock horns with Botswana in the second leg this weekend at Moruleng Stadium in Rustenburg and Moon said he was already anticipating a very difficult battle against the Zebras as they fight for a place in the third and final round of the competition qualifiers.
“The second leg is going to be just as difficult as the first leg was for us,” Moon says. “And that’s because with international matches anything can happen because everybody is fighting for results.
"We just have to go out there with the mentality that we are starting a new game with the scoreline at 0-0. That will help us to play to win our game in order for us to go through to the next round.
"We cannot give them room to sniff around and let them push for a win."