PART 1: The top 50 Bafana Bafana players
CAPE TOWN – Last week, we gave you the Top 50 post-isolation Springboks, and this time, we’ve decided to bring you the 50 greatest players to don the Bafana Bafana jersey.
Over the next four days, we will be revealing 10 players starting from 50, which will culminate with the top on Friday. We know that this lockdown has a lot of people missing live sport, but we hope we can create some good content for our users during their stay at home.
As the national team haven’t had a great year since in a long time, a lot of people will disagree with the names that will be named. Hopefully that can only lead to constructive conversations. You’re also free to call us out on social media if you wish.
There was no science involved in compiling this list, so there is a chance that we may have missed a name or two.
Here are the players who make it at number 50 to 41.
50. Calvin Marlin (16 caps)
The former Ajax Cape Town, SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper only played 16 times for the national team, but for a while, he was the undisputed number one player in his position in the country. A good communicator who organised his defence well, Marlin was unfortunate that his run in the side coincided with one of the worst spells in Bafana Bafana’s history.
49. Siyabonga Sangweni (29 caps)
Sangweni was one of the best South African defenders of the last 20 years. He was a hard-tackling, no-nonsense player who was rarely caught out of position. He helped Orlando Pirates win a number of competitions, and he translated that form to the international stage, but Bafana Bafana were going through a weird phase.
48. Dean Furman (56 caps)
Dean Furman has been one of the most reliable players in the heart of midfield over the last eight-or-so years. While not the most skillful player around, the former Chelsea youth team player has done a very good job as a holding midfielder who screens the back four and gets the ball moving forward. His high work-rate has been utilised well, and at 31, he still has a number of years in him.
47. Bongani Khumalo (42 caps)
Bongani Khumalo’s finest moment in a Bafana Bafana jersey came when he rose over the French defence to head the ball past Hugo Lloris in the French goal in the national team’s only win at the 2020 World Cup. Khumalo had the potential to become one of the best players this country has ever produced. That potential was, however, wasted in the Tottenham reserves.
46. Jacob Lekgetho (25 caps)
The Soweto-born left back was so impressive for his club in the Russian Premier League that he was one of the first names on the teamsheet for various Bafana Bafana coaches. He linked up beautifully down the left flank with Quinton Fortune during the 2002 World Cup, arguarbly South Africa’s best campaign. He was so popular in Russia that he became the victim of an internet death hoax a year before his actual death.
45. Tsepo Masilela (51 caps)
The former Kaizer Chiers defender was one of only four South Africans to play in Spain’s La Liga. Spending the second half of the 2011/12 season on-loan at Getafe, he held his own in a league that included the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. He was one of Carlos Alberto Pareira and Joel Santana’s most trusted players who went on to play 51 times for the national team.
44. Linda Buthelezi (27 caps)
Linda “Mercedes Benz” Buthelezi was a nightmare to play against. Playing in South Africa’s most successful period between 1994 and 1997, he was a hard-tackling defensive midfielder who wanted his opponents to know who the boss was. He famously upset the English when he nearly broke Paul Gascoigne’s leg with a tackle from behind during a friendly international at Old Trafford.
43. Thulani Hlatshwayo (43 caps)
The current Bafana Bafana skipper is a good leader who communicates well and pushes his team-mates during games. He’s been a very dependable player at the heart of Bafana Bafana’s defence, and at 30, he could be entering the twilight years of his international career.
42. Moeneeb Josephs (22 caps)
Moeneeb Josephs only played 22 times for Bafana Bafana, but in those games, he was very dependable. He was in goal during South Africa’s famous World Cup win over France in 2010 after Itumeleng Khune became only the second goalkeeper to be shown a red card in the history of the tournament. Josephs, who helped Orlando Pirates win a number of titles during the early 2010s, was an underrrated keeper who was at times unfairly blamed for some of the team’s losses. But, he had a great career and to this day, remains one of the most genuinely nice guys in football.
41. Brendan Augustine (30 caps)
The East London-born right winger was an important member of one of the greatest Bafana Bafana sides. His ability down the right-hand side of the park, and his killer cross were invaluable weapons in Bafana’s arsenal. His international career was unfortunately ended by a disciplinary incident that saw him and Naughty Mokoena sent home from the 1998 World Cup.@KingBiyela