Clash of Legends “Is More Than Just Football”

So said SA’s captain on the day Simphiwe Tshabalala of 2010 World Cup fame with whom Botswana’s Dirang Moloi agreed there was “nothing to complain about”


Featuring former Zebras players against their South African counterparts, Bafana Bafana legends, the second edition of Clash of Legends took place at the National Stadium over the weekend.

The event – which is an occasion for laid-back football razzmatazz steeped in nostalgia – has been praised as a noble gesture that fosters appreciation of former stars.

The game saw the South African legends defeat their hosts 2-0, courtesy of a stunning set-piece goal by Simphiwe Tshabalala and an own goal by Monametsi Kelebale.

Social cohesion

Speaking after the game, Tshabalala – who is best remembered for his opening goal in the 2010 World Cup against Mexico when South Africa hosted the entire international footballing community – described Clash of Legends as more than just a football match.

“There’s social cohesion and a great relationship between the two countries,” said the man who captained the South African team on the day. “We are playing our role through football. We like it here and enjoyed it.

“It was a good game with great performance by both sides, hence we are happy that we won. Second edition, and again we emerged victorious and are taking it home. I think the fans got good value for their money.”

‘New’ players

Former Zebras player Dirang Moloi concurred that the event goes beyond football and noted its charitable aspect. This year’s edition aimed to benefit three former athletes, Oscar Ncenga, Onkabetse Nkobolo and Seboloko Khutsafalo.

Moloi commented: “It was a good performance by our team. We had new players who had to quickly adjust to our style of play because they were not here last year. Overall, it was a good game; nothing to complain about.”

Meanwhile, the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development, Tumiso Rakgare, has emphasised the importance of appreciating former national team players. “We should not forget the guys who came before the current ones,” he said.

2012 AFCON

“These are the guys who did us proud during their time. Remember, most of the players who took part today are the ones who qualified for the 2012 AFCON.

So it’s a reminder to all of us Batswana that they used to make us proud.”

Minister Rakgare characterised the Clash of Legends as a noble idea and a good initiative that should be continued. “As I said, we need to appreciate and remember these former players,” he added. “In that way, they feel proud and happy.””

The event was not only a celebration of football but a symbol of the amity and mutual respect that has always characterised the relationship between the people of Botswana and South Africa, many of whom have family ties.

Age was the loser  

Fans were treated to a display of skill and sportsmanship, with both teams showing that age was the loser because it has not completely dulled their dexterity or diminished their love for the game.

Tshabalala’s set-piece goal was a standout moment, showcasing the talent that made him a household name during the 2010 World Cup. As for Kelebale’s own goal, it sure was an unfortunate mishap but it did little to dampen the spirit of the Botswana legends and their supporters.

Moloi’s comments reflected the consummation of participating in an event with such significant charitable and social implications.

Significantly, the proceeds benefitting three of the stars of yesteryear who contributed to the beautiful in their heyday underscore the adage that hope springs eternal.