16 July 2017 – As a child, Ryan Moon dreamt of singing the national anthem in South Africa’s colours, playing for Bafana Bafana and scoring a goal for his country.

On Saturday, 15 July 2017 it happened exactly that way.

Moon was selected in the starting line-up against Botswana in the first leg of the 2018 CHAN qualifier in Francistown in Botswana, and sang the national anthem from the field with the first eleven – his first dream was realised.

When the match got underway, he achieved the second wish – to play for his national team.

In the 28th minute the last piece of the dream was completed when Moon found the back of the net with a goal on his debut.

“I feel great and I give God all the praise and glory. Even today I am still happy I just want to get more and more. They say dreams do come true and I am so excited it happened exactly the way I said it before the game,” said an elated Moon.

“My phone was buzzing with all my family and friends sending me messages, and when I got back to the hotel I phoned my mother and she put me on speaker – so I spoke to her, my father and my brothers and they were all excited for me. My father said he nearly had a heart attack because the game was not broadcast anywhere and they were following online, so when saw that Bafana Bafana had scored they didn’t know who scored. When my brother confirmed it was me my father said let me see, and he was so excited when he saw my name as the goal scorer.”

Ryan’s inspiration has always been his brother, Bryce Moon, a former Bafana Bafana international, and he couldn’t wait to share the news with him.

“I tried to get in contact with him (after the game) but we couldn’t chat because of the terrible network but we spoke this morning (Sunday) and he said he was really happy. He said I had made the family proud and made him proud too, so that’s a great feeling,” added Ryan.

“It was a tough match, it was difficult for me in the first half but we had a good game plan and we stuck to it, we didn’t worry about them playing well. We had two chances and we took them, which is the most important thing. We could have scored more but the crucial thing is that we got a good result going back to South Africa, so it was good.”

He is also well aware that the second leg will not be a walk in the park, despite the 2-0 victory away from home.

“It’s going to be just as difficult as it was in the first leg. In international games anything can happen, that’s how football is. So we have to go out there and tell ourselves it’s 0-0, win our game and progress to the next stage, that’s important,” said Ryan.

“We can’t rest on our laurels, we have to go out there and fight, we have to make sure that we don’t lose. It’s easier for them to come back – if you give them a sniff at goal and they score first, then they think they can take us, so we have to give it our all again.”

The second leg will take place on Saturday, 22 July 2017 at the Moruleng Stadium in the North West Province.

Kickoff is at 15h00.

Some of the players who scored on their Bafana Bafana debut:

  • Doctor Khumalo                     (v Cameroon)
  • Bennett Masinga                    (v Cameroon)
  • John Moshoeu                       (v Botswana)
  • Rudolph Seale                       (v Botswana)
  • Pitso Mosimane                     (v Mauritius)
  • Brendan Augustine                (v Mauritius)
  • Dumisa Ngobe                       (v Kenya)
  • Jabu Pule                               (v Lesotho)
  • Patrick Mayo                          (v Mauritius)
  • Bradley August                      (v Congo)
  • Clement Mazibuko                  (v Mozambique)
  • Tyren Arendse                        (v Tunisia)
  • Katlego Mphela                       (2 v Seychelles)
  • Lerato Chabangu                    (v Seychelles)
  • Sthembiso Ngcobo                  (v Zimbabwe)
  • Bradley Grobler                       (v Zimbabwe)
  • Jabulani Shongwe                   (v Namibia)
  • Bongani Ndulula                      (v Sudan)
  • David Zulu                               (v Cote d’Ivoire)
  • Thabo Mnyamane                   (v Swaziland)
  • Mpho Makola                          (v Senegal)
  • Ryan Moon                            (Botswana)