1. SIPHIWE TSHABALALA SCORING THE FIRST GOAL OF THE 2010 WORLD CUP IN SOUTH AFRICA“It’s Tshaaaaabalalaaaaa!, gooaal Bafana Bafana, goal for South Africa, goal for all of Africa!.. Jambulila…..Rejoice…..Bafana Bafana have put the first coup on their dazed days! Siphiwe Tshabalala!!”. Those were the words of ITV commentator Peter Drury after Tshabalala scored the first goal of the 2010 World Cup. It was the first time the World Cup was hosted on African soil, hence it was a memorable moment, one day that will last longer on the minds of South Africans and all African football fans, and there was no man in place to describe the scintillating moment better than the poetic Peter Drury.
Siphiwe Tshabalala received a defense-splitting through pass from Teko Modise and calmly smashed the ball into the far corner with his sweet left foot, leaving the Mexican goalkeeper Oscar Perez with absolutely no chance. South Africans went crazy! Africa was on it feet!! Africans roared!!!2. ASAMOAH GYAN’S PENALTY MISS AGAINST URUGUAY IN THE 2010 WORLD CUP
Siphiwe Tsbalala’s strike against Mexico wasn’t the only unforgettable moment in the 2010 World Cup. There was yet another incident, but this one will always leave a scar on the hearts of Ghanaians and Africans. Ghana was seconds away from a semifinal place in the 2010 World Cup, a goal bound header by Dominic Adiyah in the dying embers of the second half of extra-time was handled on the line by Luiz Suarez. Luiz Suarez was sent off and Ghana had a chance of becoming the first African nation to play in the Worldcup semifinal. Asamoah Gyan grabbed the ball, went through what looked like an elaborate repertoire of breathing exercises, he had on his face the look of a man about to void his stomach all over the Soccer City Stadium. The destiny of a great nation and continent rested on his small shoulders. Asamoah Gyan’s wild effort left the goalkeeper Muslera helpless, only to see it strike the crossbar, the ball was immediately hoofed away by the Uruguayans, Ghana went on to lose 4-2 on penalties. Suarez’s handball will surely go down as the hand of God to all Uruguayans but the hand of Satan to all Ghanaians and Africans.
3. ZAMBIA WINNING THE AFRICAN CUP
Zambia in 2012 pulled off one of the greatest miracles in African football by winning the 2012 AFCON after beating Ivory Coast in the final. The Zambians came into the tournament ranked 16th on the continental ranking and 71st on FIFA ranking, but those ranking were not really important as the Zambians went on to defy all odds and win the AFCON. It was the first time the Zambians won it, before that they were 2 time runners up, losing in 1974 and 1994. The Zambians beat Ghana in the semifinal by a goal to nil, goal courtesy Emmanuel Mayuka. The Zambians in the final beat Ivory Coast 8-7 on penalties after the game ended 0-0. Kolo Toure and Gervinho missed their kicks, with Rainford Kalaba also missing for Zambia.
4. AGUERO SCORING LATE AGAINST QPR TO CLINCH MANCHESTER CITY THE PREMIER LEAGUE TROPHY IN 2012
“Aguuueeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!”, just who would forget this moment? On the day, Manchester United won by a goal to nil away at Sunderland. After the referee blew the final whistle at the Stadium of light, City were still fighting for their lives at the Etihad. They were 2-1 down against relegation threatened Queens Park Rangers and the game was almost entering stoppage time. City needed only a victory to be declared winners, they had their fate in their hands but that looked like slipping away. Manchester City made the unfathomable a reality. Edin Dzeko and then Sergio Aguero found the net in added on time to snatch the Premier League crown from Manchester United’s grasp. “I swear you’ll never see anything like this ever again”, legendary commentator Martin Tyler said.
5. MESSI SCORING 91 GOALS IN THE CALENDAR YEAR OF 2012
Lionel Messi is the holder of many footballing records, but there is one record of his that has gained him immense accolades because of the sheer difficulty in doing it. In the year 2012, a 25-year-old from Rosario, Argentina ridiculously scored 91 goals for club and country, he shattered the mark of 85 tallied by Gerd Muller for Bayern Munich and Germany in 1972. He scored 12 for Argentina and the remaining 79 for Barcelona. Messi that year played in 69 games for club and country, that meant he scored a goal every 66 minutes he was on the pitch. He also provided 29 assists that year. Looks like this is going to be the record for years and years to come.6. WATFORD VS LEICESTER, 2013 CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYOFF SEMIFINAL
This indeed is an unpopular pick, not many football fans are aware of this crazy and astounding seconds of football. Watford was leading 2-1 on the day at home to Leicester in the Championship semifinal playoff, but the score was 2-2 on aggregate. The game was almost going into extra time, then the unimaginable happened. With only a minute of the 5 minutes of time added on left to play, Leicester were awarded a dubious penalty for a Cassetti foul on Knockaert. By the time Knockeart took the ball to take the spot-kick, it was the 97th minute, his effort and the follow-up was saved by Almunia. Cassetti hoofed the ball away with no clear intention of steering a counter, luckily the clearance fell to a Watford player, Anya. He controlled the ball beautifully and set Andy King who was on the run down the right wing like a man running for life. Andy King sent in a cross, which was knocked down by Jonathan Hogg, before captain Troy Deeney applied the finishing touch. What a breathtaking 30 seconds of football it was at the Vicarage Road. Watford went on to lose to Crystals Palace in the final.
7. GERMANY BEATING BRAZIL 7-1 IN THE 2014 WORLD CUP SEMIFINAL
During the 2014 World Cup, Brazil was hit with the biggest defeat in it footballing history on home soil. Brazil lost by 7-1 to the World Cup winners that year, Germany. It was Brazil’s first loss in a World Cup semifinal since 1978. By the 30th minute of the game, Brazil was 5-0 goals down. By the time Brazil had gathered itself, there were two more, in the 69th and 79th minutes of the game. Oscar later scored to reduce the deficit, but believe me that goal from Oscar was the least celebrated goal I have ever seen in my life. Throughout the game, it was as if the German players were training on a field somewhere in Munich with a group of 5 year old kids. After the final whistle, the whole Maracana stadium went silent like a grave. The Brazil players were seated right on the turf in tears. They couldn’t stand the disgrace and humiliation. No one could believe what just happened, even the German manager Joachim Lowe couldn’t.
8. LEICESTER WINNING THE PREMIER LEAGUE IN 2016
In the previous season before this memorable event, Leicester City was on the brink of getting relegated. Nigel Pearson came in and won six of Leicester’s last eight matches to complete one of the most remarkable late season comebacks in the history of the Premier League. Who would have thought this team will go on and win the league the following season? Odds on Leicester winning the league before the season started was 5000/1. The unthinkable unfolded right before the eyes of everyone. Leicester were crowned champions with 81 points, 10 more than second placed Arsenal.
9. CHAPECOENSE PLANE CRASH IN 2016, LAMIA FLIGHT 2923 Not all memorable moments leaves a smile our faces. On 28th November, 2016. A charter flight carrying the entire Chapeceonse team to Columbia for the first leg of the 2016 Copa sudamerica against Atletico Nacional crashed. Only 6 of the 77 people on board survived the gory accident. It went down as one of the biggest misfortunes to ever hit football. Chapecoense was later awarded the trophy.
10. LIVERPOOL COMING BACK FROM A 3-0 FIRST LEG DEFEAT TO BEAT BARCELONA 4-3 ON AGGREGATE IN THE 2018/2019 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SEMIFINAL
Liverpool rose from the clutches of defeat like a phoenix from the ashes. Coming into the game at Anfield, Liverpool were 3-0 down from the first leg of the Champions League against Barcelona. They needed to score four unanswered goals against Barcelona without their key men Salah and Firmino. How on earth was that going to happen? How do you stop a club with arguably the best player to ever kick the ball from scoring? This was a much bigger task than even Instanbul 2005. The unimaginable happened, Liverpool scored 4 unanswered goals to advance to the final of the Champions League. The forgotten man Origi gave them an early lead, Wijnaldum who started the game from the bench and came on for Robertson at the start of the second half scored two quick goals, before Origi rounded it up in the 79th minute after Trent Arnold took a quick corner, one which caught the entire Barcelona team off guard. Liverpool went on to win the trophy after beating spurs 2-0 in the final.Some notable ommisions include: 92:48 Ramos’s late goal against Atletico Madrid, Sir Alex Ferguson saying good bye to football, Arsene Wenger leaving Arsenal after 2 decades, the mysterious demise of Emiliano Sala, Real Madrid winning 3 consecutive Champions League trophies, Chelsea winning the Champions League in Munich against Bayern, Ramsey scoring to end Arsenal’s 9 years trophy drought, Spain winning the World Cup etc. we all hope the 2020’s will treat us with much better memorable or iconic moments.