South Africa lost a promising coach when John ‘Shoes’ Moshoeu passed away, according to a footballer who was coached under the Kaizer Chiefs legend.
Moshoeu, who passed on back in 2015 at the age of 49, is widely regarded as one of the most talented South African footballers of his generation.
Having been part of the triumphant 1996 Africa Cup of Nations squad, ‘Shoes’ held a remarkable legacy with Bafana Bafana and Amakhosi, whom he represented in two separate stints on either side of a decade in the Turkish Super Lig.
While he officially hung his boots up at Alexandra United one year before losing his battle with cancer, Sihle Qwabe, who was coached by the iconic figure, believes he had an aura that not many coaches could replicate
“He had so many stories to share, he made training fun, he knew how to connect with us as human beings before footballers and he offered us the freedom to express ourselves,” Qwabe, who played in the ABC Motsepe League under Moshoeu, says .
“It was an amazing feeling, some things I couldn’t believe, he was my role-model, the way he coached, the way he spoke to his players, he was excellent in building players’ morale. To me, his death was a massive loss, as I thought there would be more time to learn from him.
“I can honestly say his death was a massive loss where South African coaching is concerned, as we need mentors who have been there and done that with the ability to encourage and empower footballers, even at the lower levels.
“We need people like Shoes who represented the country with distinction during a time where the financial rewards weren’t there, because right now the money is there, but the level of Shoes’ days are gone.
“People like Shoes could keep promising players grounded, even when the money flows. Legends like him understood what it meant to play for big teams, for Bafana Bafana – for passion and not for money.
“I wish we could have that mindset and not think about the fame and glamour but rather the pride that comes with representing your village or nation.
“I played under Owen Da Gama, [Eric] Tinkler, [Roger] de Sa all briefly during my career and they are all great coaches in their own unique ways, but Shoes is just someone that held a spirit you couldn’t easily forget.”