Notifications

Aaron Mokoena: The pride of the rainbow nation

Aaron Mokoena is a consistent, experienced defender whose excellent balance and timely tackles will complement the size and strength of his central defending partner Matthew Booth.

Defender is most capped player in South African history

Aaron Mokoena

Born: Nov. 25, 1980, in Johannesburg, South Afria

Position: Defender

Nickname: Mbazo

Clubs played for: Mokoena spent the formative years of his career floating from Jomo Cosmos, Bayer Leverkusen, Ajax, Germinal Beerschot and Genk before announcing himself as a sturdy defender with the Blackburn Rovers from 2005 to 2009. The South African captain moved to Portsmouth in 2009, although he could not stop Pompey's steep descent.

Internationalcareer: Mokoena is the most capped player in South African history with 101 caps since 1999. Mbazo played in the 2002 World Cup, 2008 African Cup of Nations and the 2009 Confederations Cup.

Why is he sospecial? Mokoena is a consistent, experienced defender whose excellent balance and timely tackles will complement the size and strength of his central defending partner, Matthew Booth.

His most famousmoment:  In 101 appearances for his country, Mbazo has one goal, against Zambia in a African Cup of Nations qualifier. Perhaps the moment he will be most famous for, however, will be the breathless minutes when he leads South Africa onto the pitch of Soccer City, becoming the first captain of an African nation to lead his country into the first World Cup match played on African soil.

He saidit: "The excitement is there and the expectations are really high here at home. But to be fair, the players have big expectations, too. We know it's a big task and we have a mountain to climb, but we've made a lot of sacrifices and put a lot of hard work in."

What they're saying abouthim: "The team needs support and experience and Aaron has it, having played more than 90 matches for his country. He would not have achieved all this if he did not have something special within him." — Carlos Alberto Parreira, South Africa head coach

Here is an interestingfact: FourFourTwo reporter Andy Mitten once convinced Mokoena to thank Blackburn's most loyal supporters, the Burnley Clarets, during a news conference. Burnley is Blackburn's archrival.