Weather, delays dampen Khumalo game

2007-12-17 00:00

THE Doctor Khumalo XI’s 4-0 thrashing of a Clive Barker XI in an exhibition match at Harry Gwala Stadium yesterday showed that while legs may grow older and bellies a little rounder, some things never change.

A star-studded array of former greats turned out for the mostly Gauteng-based Khumalo XI against a disappointingly under-strength KZN-based Barker XI. That was not the only discouraging aspect of an otherwise entertaining afternoon.

The organisation was not the best, with the game kicking off 45 minutes late. The wet weather, which no one could do anything about, kept the crowd away and only some 200 people turned up.

But the organisers must take some blame, having only alerted local media about the match on Wednesday. Detailed team lists ahead of the match would also have allowed the press to highlight the nature of particularly Khumalo’s star-studded line-up.

Barker’s no-show, because his team, AmaZulu, were involved in a PSL match against Moroka Swallows in Johannesburg yesterday, was another oversight.

Those glitches aside, while the game was effectively no more than an entertaining kickabout, it did have its moments and some of the stars of yesteryear showed that they still have the ability to get a crowd excited.

For the Khumalo XI, ex-Mamelodi Sundowns star Isaac Shai looked the least affected around the midriff by retirement, and showed he still packs a lethal left-footed shot. Khumalo still passes like a dream.

Phil Masinga, for a tall man, can still step around a ball with the grace of a ballroom dancer. Ex-Pirates stars Bashin Mahlangu and Aubrey Lekwane’s skills have not diminished as much as their pace around the park has.

Masinga opened the scoring in the 25th minute, dribbling into the area and deftly sidefooting past the ’keeper, before Donald “Ace” Khuse made it 2-0 in the 34th. Two curling long-range shots in the second half — first from Isaac “Shakes” Kungoane and the second by Shai — made it 4-0.

For the Barker XI, Calvin Petersen was sprightly and almost connected a bicycle kick at goal. Ex-Maritzburg City and Swaharaj player Rana Reddy, at 55 easily the oldest player on the field, produced moments of skill and drew a cheer for beating Khumalo XI left-back Edward “Magents” Motale, punishing the ex-Pirates and Bafana player for his trickery.

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