Mngomeni: Congo not for softies

Orlando Pirates

Mngomeni was in the South Africa team that defeated Congo 2-1 in September 2000. The dreadlocked former player scored with an overhead kick during the 2002 African Nations Cup qualifiers match played at the Stade Municipal in Pointe Noire. The goal was voted as the CAF Goal of the Year.

“When I scored that goal I didn’t realise that it would be voted as the goal of the year, it just happened and the most important thing at that time was to win the match,” Mngomeni tells

“It was the first goal of the match and I was just happy that we took a lead under those tough conditions. It was tough out there, the weather was bad, the pitch was bad, not the soft grass that we were used to back home. The treatment outside the field was not good at all – Congo is not a country for softies.

“But my advice to the current players is, they must go there with a positive attitude. They must go there thinking that they will win the match, put all the negative thoughts aside, you will achieve anything you want to achieve. As a Rastaman and a Lion that was my attitude and it always worked.”

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Bafana’s first match in Pointe Noire came in April 1997 when Clive Barker’s team were bruised, battered and beaten by the Congolese side during the 1998 World Cup qualifiers. Barker travelled to the match after dropping his star striker Phil Masinga who was a victim of boo boys.

But the result backfired as Nachembe Mouhani-Younga’s brace saw Andre Arendse concede his first international goal after a record-breaking 693 minutes without conceding. Mngomeni’s Bafana Bafana was the first side to win in Congo.

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“It’s all about belief and this is what the players must have ahead of this game,” adds the former Orlando Pirates midfielder. “Players must believe in themselves and they must trust their own abilities no matter what happens. And I believe that we can win this match.”