The lanky retired defender speaks about their misfortunes at the global showpiece a decade ago
Former Bafana Bafana defender Matthew Booth says he wouldn’t have had an opportunity to represent his country at the 2010 Fifa World Cup if ex-Kaizer Chiefs defender Morgan Gould was not injured.
‘Boooth’ reflected on their Group A campaign where they faced Mexico, Uruguay, and France, saying they could have done better in their opening match whilst admitting they could have scored more goals against Les Bleus.
The experienced former Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits centre-back also explained his role was to help guide the young guys in the squad in a tournament that was staged in South Africa.
“It was a bitter-sweet moment for me because I was actually lucky to make the final squad. I think if Morgan Gould wasn’t injured, which was unfortunate for him, I probably wouldn’t have made the squad,” Booth told IOL.
“When I made the squad, it was kind of the fact that I was one of the few guys that had played in four intercontinental competitions. So, it was a case of giving my experience to the younger players.
“I never put my head down at training though. I was very determined. I trained the way that I played. I think that kind of attitude rubbed off to the rest of the squad. When you try not to have a funeral face everywhere you go, that also helps.”
On their 1-1 draw against the Mexicans, the loss to Uruguay, and the victory over the 1998 World champions, the television pundit added that they lacked a killer instinct in some of their games.
“In hindsight, most of the teams at that World Cup would have beaten that French team. There was actually a time when we went 2-0 up, I thought we could have scored the four goals that we needed in order to qualify for the knockout stage,” he explained.
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“It was always going to be a tough ask to beat Uruguay, who finished fourth in the tournament, but South Africa’s lack of killer instinct against Mexico, especially having led through the Siphiwe Tshabalala screamer, and France, who were a broken unit, was due to their own doing.
“We should have put our foot on the accelerator and went for a kill against France. I think the turning point in our team was allowing Mexico to equalise. A win there would have given us the courage and confidence to compete against Uruguay.”