Saturday Apr 25, 2020. 13:00
With football suspended all around the globe, we turn to the past for inspiration and entertainment. This week African Football looks back at one of the most famous victories in South Africa’s history, a 3-1 triumph over mighty Brazil in the 2000 Olympic Games.
The teams met in a Group D clash at Bruce Stadium in Canberra on 14 September, with Brazil fresh from a 3-1 win over Slovakia in their opening match, while SA had stumbled to a 2-1 loss at the hands of Japan and were very much the underdogs.
This ‘Selecao’ side included several rising stars, the most notable of which was Ronaldinho, and were tipped as strong contenders for the gold medal.
However, they came unstuck against a South African side which used their pace and dribbling skills to devastating effect.
Shakes Mashaba’s side claimed the lead 10 minutes after the kick-off through a beautifully-hit free kick from Quinton Fortune, though parity was restored almost immediately by Brazil’s Edu.
The teams grappled for more than an hour on level terms until Siyabonga Nomvethe met a cross from the left flank to head SA into a 74th minute lead.
Brazil streamed numbers forward in the dying stages in an attempt to get back into the game and they were inevitably picked off on the counter attack, with Steve Lekolea tapping home from close range in the final minute of regulation time to seal an emphatic and deserved victory.
Mashaba’s side peaked against Brazil, slumping to a 2-1 loss against Slovakia in their final group game to make an early exit.
The South Americans, meanwhile, beat Japan to advance as group winners, but suffered a second humbling at the hands of an African side when they were beaten 2-1 by eventual champions Cameroon in the quarterfinals.
Enjoy the YouTube highlights of South Africa’s 3-1 win over Brazil: