Born on December 2, 1977, Siyabonga Nomvete is possibly best remembered for his crucial goal against Slovenia at the 2002 World Cup – a goal which gave South Africa its first ever World Cup win. But Nomvete, who moved back to the South African soccer scene, has accomplished much more than that in his professional career, which began in 1994.
He started playing soccer for the small Durban club, Cosmos, before moving on to Claremont Blizzards. His time at the Blizzards was cut short when the club folded a year later. He was later signed by African Wanderers and helped the club move from 1st division to the Premier Soccer League. Nomvete and his Wanderers teammates, Sibusiso Zuma and Phumlani Mkhize, left the club in 2000. Together, these three formed a striking trio.
Kaizer Chiefs was the first to snap up Nomvete. Chiefs had noticed his talent in a previous match where Nomvete scored two goals against the club, while playing for Wanderers.
In 1999, the young striker made his international debut for South Africa against Trinidad and Tobago in a friendly in Port of Spain. That same year, he scored his first international goal for South Africa against Sweden. Nomvete, who has played soccer since Grade Three, has enjoyed time overseas, playing for Djurgardens in Sweden and Udinese in Italy. However, Nomvete returned to South Africa to play for Orlando Pirates.
Nomvete took everybody by surprise when he was selected as part of the team that played in the 2010 Soccer World Cup for South Africa. He currently plays for Moroka Swallows.
By Dasen Thathiah