The South African Football Association (Safa) has expressed shock and sadness at the passing of former Bafana Bafana midfield maestro John Lesiba “Shoes” Moshoeu on Tuesday afternoon at Morningside Clinic in Sandton‚ Johannesburg.
The 49-year-old Moshoeu had been battling cancer for some time and was in and out of hospital in the past few months.
Safa president Dr Danny Jordaan‚ who together with former Bafana Bafana captain Lucas Radebe visited Moshoeu at the clinic on Monday evening‚ said he was shocked by the news.
“I saw him on Monday evening when I visited him at the clinic and although he was not in good shape‚ he recognised me and even spoke a bit; little did I know that this was some way of him saying goodbye‚” he said.
“Our deepest condolences to his family and friends for their loss. We hope they find strength during these difficult times. As the association‚ the passing of this legend saddens us.”
Radebe‚ who played with Moshoeu at Kaizer Chiefs and at Bafana Bafana‚ said he had lost a childhood friend.
“When I saw him struggling on Monday‚ I was heartbroken but I still expected that he would pull through. What an exemplary figure he was on and off the pitch‚” said Radebe.
“He lived a clean life – never smoked or drank‚ exercised religiously ‚¬ and then this happens. Anyway that is life‚ we are never masters of our destiny.”
Moshoeu’s career blossomed when he joined Giant Blackpool and then moved to Kaizer Chiefs.
His talent was noticed overseas‚ where he made a big money move to Turkey playing for Genclerbirligi‚ Fenerbahce and Bursaspor.
He will always be remembered as one of the driving forces that helped Bafana Bafana win the Africa Cup of Nations title in 1996 on home soil.
“Today everyone talks about the Class of 96 because the likes of Shoes made it famous. They got into the history books by lifting the title alongside other stalwarts like Mark Fish‚ Lucas Radebe‚ Phil Masinga‚ Neil Tovey‚ David Nyathi‚ Andre Arendse and the late Sizwe Motaung‚ among others‚” said Jordaan.
“These are the players who put our country on the map. We will forever be indebted to them for what they did for this country. These players have been an inspiration to our current crop of players.
“Shoes was a genius on the field‚ an intelligent man off it. He was humble and always willing to give advice. He will be remembered for almost single-handedly defeating Ghana in South Africa’s path to lifting the 1996 AFCON title. We have certainly lost a hero. What saddens us more is that just the other day we were mourning the passing of Richard Henyekane‚ and also attended the memorial service for the late Kalamazoo Mokone – the tears have hardly dried up‚ and now this.
Funeral arrangements will be released soon.
-RDM News Wire