50 Up!

AFCON Preview 3


The doom and gloom of Bafana Bafana’s weak 0-0 draw against Cape Verde was lifted – at least temporarily – when five players were rewarded for having reached the
50-cap milestone over the course of the team’s last few matches.

Siboniso Gaxa, Itumeleng Khune, Kagiso Dikgacoi, Bernard Parker and Katlego Mphela were each given a framed jersey signed by their team-mates. As each player was
called up and had the obligatory handshake with Safa CEO Kirsten Nematendani and eThekwini Municipality Mayor James Nxumalo, and posed for the obligatory photo,
their team-mates clapped and snapped pictures with their cellphones. It’s clear that there is a good spirit in this squad – and that’s one of the things fans will want to see.

Here are brief profiles of the 5 players:

Gaxa – 54 caps


Born: April 6, 1984, in Durban
Height: 1.85 m
Weight: 76 kg
Position: Defender
Club: Kaizer Chiefs

You might not have known: Gaxa’s nickname is “Pa”, and was given to him by his childhood friends because, apparently, even when he was a child he behaved like an adult 

Khune – 51 caps

Khune, class distributor
Khune, class distributor

Born: June 20, 1987, Ventersdorp, North West
Height: 1.81 m
Weight: 76 kg
Position: Goalkeeper
Club: Kaizer Chiefs

You might not have known: Khune didn’t start life as a goalkeeper. He was spotted while making some saves on the sideline when he was meant to be working as a ballboy.
His brother, Lucky Khune, was a club-mate at Kaizer Cheifs, but his contract was not renewed at the end of the 2011/12 season.

Dikgacoi – 51 caps


Born: November 24, 1984, Brandfort, Free State
Height: 1.80 m
Weight: 81 kg
Position: Midfielder
Club: Crystal Palace (UK)

You might not have known: On October 4, 2009, “KG” made his debut for London-based Fulham Football Club. That appearance lasted just 40 minutes, after he was sent off
for slapping Tottenham Hotspurs midfielder Scott Parker.

Mphela – 50 caps


Born: November 29, 1984, Brits, Free State
Height: 1.83 m
Weight: 70 kg
Position: Forward
Club: Mamelodi Sundowns

You might not have known: Mphela shares the same name as the Africa Cup of Nations ball, “Katlego”, which means “success” in Tswana. But it is purely a coincidence.

Parker – 50 caps


Born: March 16, 1986, Boksburg, Gauteng
Height: 1.70 m
Weight: 64 kg
Positions: Midfielder, Forward, Winger
Club: Kaizer Chiefs

You might not have known: Parker was meant to join Red Star Belgrade for E800 000 in January 2009, but the deal fell through when the club never made the payment to
Thanda Royal Zulu. Instead, six months later, he moved to FC Twente for E1-million

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