The spoils: The Nelson Mandela Challenge Trophy. Photo: @BafanaBafana on twitter

JOHANNESBURG – Bafana Bafana takes on Paraguay in the Nelson Mandela Challenge at the Moses §mabhida Stadium tonight. Matshelane Mamabolo looks back at the history between the two sides.

June 2, 2002: Fifa World Cup

Group E match

SA 2 (T Mokoena 62 Fortune 90 pen); Paraguay 2 (Santa Cruz 38, Arce 55)

Bafana Bafana looked dead and buried with less than half-an-hour of play in this opening group match in Busan, South Korea, after Paraguay star Roque Santa Cruz and Fransisco Arce had got the goals for the South Americans. But Jomo Sono’s men, initially overawed by the occasion, found their footing and got into the game. 

Teboho Mokoena pulled one back just after the hour mark and then late in the game Quinton Fortune converted a penalty kick to equalise and earn Bafana a valuable point. South Africa went on to beat Slovenia and then lost to Spain, missing out on progression via goal difference after finishing on the same points as Paraguay.

March 26, 2008: Friendly

SA 3 (Moriri 30 McCarthy 47 Tshabalala 63); Paraguay 0

This was a match of records. After Surprise Moriri set the ball rolling with an early strike, Benni McCarthy then made it 2-0 just after half-time. It was his 30th goal for Bafana, meaning he took over from Shaun Bartlett as the country’s leading goalscorer. Another of Bartlett’s record was equalled by captain Aaron Mokoena, who was playing his 74th match, the most by any player in the national side. Mokoena remains the country’s most capped player. 

Then, for good measure, Siphiwe Tshabalala set a record of his own, ‘Shabba’ scoring his first ever Bafana goal in what was his 17th appearance.

March 31, 2010: Friendly

Paraguay 1 (Estrigarribia 37); SA 1 (Tshabalala 72)

Siphiwe Tshabalala again found the net against the South Americans, this time in their own backyard. Shabba scored another beauty as he got the ball just outside the box. Surrounded by defenders, he still managed to hit the ball cleanly to beat Viktor Centurion and find the net. 

This match happened just before the 2010 World Cup draw, and seemed to invigorate Shabba as two months later he opened the scoring of the global showpiece with a brilliant strike from range. Marcelo Estrigarribia scored the opening goal for the hosts with a powerful header on 37 minutes.


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