Reneilwe Letsholonyane earns Bafana Bafana's 18th red card
Posted: 20 November 2014 Time: 12:16
While Reinelwe Letsholonyane earned his 50th cap recently against Sudan, the midfielder became the 17th Bafana Bafana player to be sent off since South Africa’s re-admission to international football in 1992.
Letsholonyane received his marching orders after getting two yellow cards against Nigeria, and the resultant red card also means that the Kaizer Chiefs midfielder will miss the opening match of the 2015 African Nations Cup finals should he get selected.
The first ever Bafana Bafana player to be sent off was then Mamelodi Sundowns striker Phill Masinga, in 1992, during the 1994 African Nations Cup qualifiers against Zambia. Bafana Bafana lost the hard-fought match 1-0 at home and failed to qualify for the tournament, which was won by Nigeria.
While Rudolph Seale, Doctor Khumalo (twice), Sizwe Motaung, John Moeti and Helman Mkhalele were the next recipients of red cards, in June 1998 Maimane Phiri became the first Bafana Bafana player to be sent off at the Fifa World Cup finals. The former Jomos Cosmos player had been on the pitch for just thirteen minutes after coming on as a second half substitute when Colombian referee John Toro Rendon sent him off for tussling for a ball with Thomas Helveg. Denmark had two players sent off as well – Miklos Molnar and Morten Wieghorst – while six players were booked from both teams.
Eric Tinkler’s red card at the 2000 African Nations Cup finals against Ghana was the first by a Bafana Bafana player at the continental tournament. The red card came six minutes after Siyabona Nomvethe gave Bafana a 1-0 lead but Bafana managed to hold on to their lead and went through to the semifinals when they met Nigeria.
Although four more red cards were earned by hardman Andrew ‘Jaws of life’ Rabutla, Lesley Manyathela, Thabang Molefe and Tony Coyle, perhaps it was Itumeleng Khune’s red card against Uruguay that still lingers in the memory of many South Africans.
During the second group match at the 2010 World Cup finals, Uruguay striker Luiz Suarez conned the referee when he left a trailing leg behind and threw himself on the ground following a slight touch from Khune. Khune then rather unfairly received a straight red card, as a penalty was awarded and Bafana lost the match 3-0. Vuyo Mere was also sent off against Nigeria in the 2014 CHAN.
Out of the 17 Bafana Bafana players sent off, eight of them played for Jomo Cosmos. This excludes former coach Pitso Mosimane, who was sent off against Equatorial Guinea in 2012.
Bafana players sent off
Masinga v Zambia 1992
Seale v Zambia 1993
Khumalo v Zambia 1994
Khumalo v Cameroon 1994
Motaung v Ghanaa 1996
Moeti v Angola 1998
Mkhalele v Argentina 1998
Phiri v Denmark 1998
Tinkler v Ghana 2000
Rabutla v Mozxambique 2001
Manyathela and Molefe v Georgia 2002
Coyle v Tunisia 2003
Khune v Uruguay 2010
Gould and Mosimane v Eq Guina 2012
Mere v Nigeria 2014
Yeye v Nigeria 2014