It was on July 7, 1992, that the first South African national team proudly took to the field after decades of Apartheid-enforced isolation to take their place in international football and begin a journey that has seen the country host the 2010 FIFA World Cup, qualify to two more global tournaments in 1998 and 2002, and be crowned African champions in 1996.
That first match on a rainy day in Durban was against Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions and came just four days after FIFA had reinstated South Africa’s membership in world football’s governing body, giving hope to millions of young men and women seeking to follow their dreams of becoming professional footballers.
Castle Lager was there from the start, sponsoring a three-match tour that saw Cameroon travel to South Africa to celebrate the breaking of the isolation shackles.
“We are incredibly proud to have been there at the birth of Bafana Bafana and to have played our part in heralding a new era for South African sport. Castle Lager has been there with Bafana through all of their highs and lows, including winning the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations and playing at three World Cups, and we shared the excitement of the nation as the team made those first tentative steps into the international fold,” says Wendy Bedforth, Castle Lager Brand Director.
“Three decades on we remain steadfastly behind the Bafana Bafana and continue to contribute to the growth and development of the game in South Africa. Some of the happiest times for our country have been on the sporting fields and the constant throughout all of those has been Castle Lager.”
The first-ever Bafana Bafana international was won via a Doctor Khumalo against many of the Cameroon players who had starred at the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy two years before, including veteran forward Roger Milla.
The tour continued in Cape Town two days later where the visitors won 2-1 before the teams played to a 2-2 draw in Johannesburg in a finale to the whirlwind visit that had given local fans a taste of international football against a top-quality side.
“Castle Lager has undoubtedly been the game’s number one partner since the South African Football Association’s readmission into the FIFA family,” says SAFA President Dr. Danny Jordaan.
“Football’s various milestones over the years could not have been achieved without the strong relationship, support, and cooperation between these two long-time associates.
Football is the most supported sport in the world and it makes perfect sense that the two have worked together for the past three decades”. Jordaan concluded”
Castle Lager has always been a brand that represents the values of resilience and unity, bringing together South Africans, through their favourite pastimes, for over 126 years. Through growing hops in SA, where this is usually grown near the equator, and by ensuring a 100% homegrown brand, is proof of the courageous optimism and resilience of South Africa’s local gem. In addition, the brand has also played its part by supporting homegrown talent by backing the Springboks, the Proteas, and Bafana Bafana.
BAFANA BAFANA’S FIRST-EVER MATCH
7 July 1992
v Cameroon 1-0 (Khumalo 82’ pen)
King’s Park rugby stadium, Durban
South Africa: Mark Anderson, David Nyathi, Lucas Radebe, Steve Komphela, Sam Kambule, Zane Moosa (August Makalakalane 51’), Donald Khuse, Neil Tovey capt., Doctor Khumalo, Fani Madida, Phil Masinga. Coach: Stanley Tshabalala.