Remembering the legendary John “Shoes” Moshoeu

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The remarkable soccer legenday “Shoes” as he was affectionately known will forever be remembered as one of the greatest footballers of all time in the history of South African football fraternity.

Shoes established himself as a most skilled and feared midfielder in South African football, especially when it comes to both assisting strikers and scoring goals.

Lesiba John Moshoeu hailed from Ga-Mashashane in Limpopo, and was born on 18 December 1965 and passed away on the 21 April 2015, at Morningside Hospital, Johannesburg after a long battle with stomach cancer.

Shoes became the only oldest player in the history of Mzansi’s football to play till age 49.

During his time in the field of play, Shoes played as an attacking midfielder just behind the striker. He played for Kaizer Chiefs where he made his name and his stay at Glamour Boys was short-lived as he captured Europe interest and went to play for Fenebahçe and Bursarspor.

He became hero for the national team, where he hold 73 caps and contributed 8 goals for Bafana Bafana. He was also part of the successful team leading Bafana Bafana in winning the continental African Champions League in 1996.

His style of play, the ‘Maestro’ Shoes was well known for his ability to deliver champagne passes, dribble opponents, fast pace, and unlock the defence.

Surprisingly, when all people thought Chiefs made a huge mistake to re-signing Shoes in 2003, aged 38, the maestro midfielder continued to excite his old fans with the same enthusiasm and skills he showed in 1993.

His return made a pivotal role for Chiefs, where he played 89 games and scored 23 goals. He led Chiefs in the 2003/04 season, Moshoeu finished as Chiefs goalscorer with 11 goals in all competitions, including two hat-tricks.

Moshoeu assisted in ending Chiefs league title drought that had lasted 11 years. This wasn’t his only title at the club. His trophy case acquired two Coca-Cola Cups (2003/04 and 2004/05), a second league title followed in the 2004/2005, and the Absa Cup in the 2005/06 season. He played for Chiefs until 2006.

In 2004, he became the oldest player to ever play for Bafana at the age of 38.

Moshoeu also holds the record for being the oldest goal-scorer in the League Premiership when he scored five goals for AmaZulu while 43 years of age.

Shoes made a total of 555 soccer appearances with 152 goals in his professional career. His passing left a huge void in the development of upskilling South African football talent.


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