Monday, June 21, 2010

Another South African Goal

.... but not for South Africa

Mark Dennis Gonzalez headed one past Switzerland today. But he plays for Chile, although he was born and raised in Durban, proving that much South African football talent lies overseas.

Remember Roy Wegerle? He played for the USA in two World Cups, but was born in Pretoria. He was naturalised through his American wife and scored seven goals for the national team.

Gary Bailey, while born in England, was raised in SA. He was reserve goalkeeper on the England squad for the 1986 World Cup but only won two caps. He now does the rounds as a TV commentator on Supersport.

Bruce Grobbelaar was also born in Durban, and was only prevented from playing for England because he had previously been on the Rhodesian national team. Grobbelaar was probably South Africa's greatest footballing export (praise indeed from an Everton fan).

South Africa may want to consider looking overseas for their talent; Everyone else does. The number of foreign-born players on national teams has increased in each World Cup, but ancestral connections are still a good source of players. It might not go down well with the hoi polloi, but if the current poor performance of Bafana Bafana continues (much worse than previous World Cups), anything is worth a try.

In spite of massive chaos in the French camp, only a fool would put money on South Africa tomorrow.

**UPDATE**
It's just been pointed out to me that Scotland international Richard Gough grew up in SA (although he was born in Sweden). Gough played for Scotland 61 times, including during the 1986 World Cup. Any more additions to the list, let me know!

**Craig Johnston, usually thought of as an Australian, made the England squad in 1988 although never played for the senior team. He did play for the under-21s and the 'B' team. Johnston was born in Johannesburg.

**I deliberately left out Sean William Dundee because he never played internationally for Germany, although he was one of the top goalscorers in the German league in his day.

5 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

Viking,
Sorry old man but I have got to argue with you on this one. Richard Gough is South Africa's best ever exported player. He is in Scotland's Hall of Fame and played at 2 World Cups. His Dad, Charlie, still lives in Jhb and his brother,Jamie,is a Golf Pro in Cape Town

Viking said...

Mea Culpa - duly noted and updated!

Anonymous said...

Notice that they're all White? Whites won't ever get a fair go to get into the Bafoona team ever again. At least under Neil Tovey they resembled a soccer playing team. Since he hung up his boots and left (together with that White coach (forget his name)), they have looked like bumbling fools. That's the way rugby will go if the blacks get into the team. Whatever they touch turns to turd.

Anonymous said...

Viking,
If you go back over the years there have been many SA born players.I immediately think of Johnny Hubbard (the penalty King) who played for Rangers and is an Ibrox legend.He lives in Scotland still.There was also Don Kitchenbrand known as the Rhino and another big Ibrox favourite.Originally Charlton FC used to be the first port of call and many went on from there. My Dad used to talk about Gordon Frew and Ken Ziesing whom I think were South Africans and there was John Hewie who was a Scottish International.At the end of last season I spent some time talking to Willie Henderson who spent some time in Durban and who was a huge player for Scotland and Rangers. We talked about ex Rangers players who had lived in SA.Bobby Hope (murdered) and Ronnie McKinnon (fled SA) and his comment on SA today - It's fucked.

Viking said...

thanks for that, anonymous. Gordon Hodgson springs to mind too, he was a legend for Liverpool in the (?) 1930s.
The list is long, and I was trying to focus on those who had actually played internationally for other countries - as South Africans are now the wanderers of the world it seems ....

And what a shame the love of the game didn't last amongst white South Africans - I wonder did the FIFA ban have something to do with this, or was there simply not the fan base to accommodate it?