SA great ‘Shoes’ dies

2015-04-22 00:00

ONE of the greatest players in South ­African football history, John “Shoes” Moshoeu, died yesterday afternoon after a long battle with stomach cancer. The former Bafana Bafana attacking ­midfielder and 1996 Africa Cup of ­Nations medal winner was 49.

Moshoeu’s agent, Glyn Binkin, broke the news on Twitter at around 3.30 pm yesterday.

“John Shoes Moshoeu sadly passed away at 3 pm this afternoon after a long but brave battle with cancer. May his dear soul rest in peace!!,” Binkin’s first Tweet read. “He may be gone but will never be forgotten and his family have requested their privacy and that they may be ­allowed to mourn in peace.”

Moshoeu’s professional career only ended in 2008, when at 42 he hung up his boots while playing for Durban-based PSL club AmaZulu. Before that he had enjoyed three stints at Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs as well as spells abroad with Turkish clubs Genclerbirligi and Fenerbahce.

But it was on the international stage where “Shoes” will be remembered most. His performances at Afcon 1996 were crucial to Bafana’s success. At ­38 years old, Moshoeu was then ­selected for the Bafana squad that failed to advance out of the group stages in ­Tunisia at Afcon 2004 — a testament to his ability and longevity.

“I was with him a couple of weeks ago and he was really sick. You knew then that he was going to die,” an emotional Clive Barker told The Witness yesterday. “He was the conductor of the orchestra, a great team person and just magnificent all round.”

Barker was the coach of the Bafana team who made history in 1996, and he paid tribute to Moshoeu’s influence in that historical tournament.

“In 1996 if there was one guy who had the biggest influence then it was Shoes,” he said. “He scored against Cameroon [group stages], he scored the winner against Algeria [quarter-finals] and then he mesmerised and danced in the ­semi-final against Ghana like only Shoes could. For me he was the player of the tournament.”

Moshoeu scored twice in that 3-0 win over the Black Stars at FNB Stadium and, in doing so, etched his name into South African football history as Bafana ­secured a place in the final.

“He used to make the ball talk,” Barker continued. “He never used to run, he used to glide across the field. He was a marvel to watch.”

Little was known about the details of Moshoeu’s illness. In February he had been discharged from Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg at a time when it had been reported that he was fighting a “life-threatening illness”.

Moshoeu had been a player/coach for ABC Motsepe League [third tier] outfit Alexandra United in Gauteng up until as recently as May last year.

He was capped 73 times for SA.

“He couldn’t even open his eyes. I squeezed his hand,” Barker said of the last time he saw Moshoeu. “I feel so sorry for his family and friends. It’s really ­difficult. It’s like losing a son.”

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


How to open a beer bottle without an opener

Do the right thing and never be thirsty again…


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…
WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.