Matthew Booth (soccer)

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Matthew Booth
Boothzaf.jpg
Personal information
Full name Matthew Paul Booth[1]
Date of birth (1977-03-14) 14 March 1977 (age 37)
Place of birth Fish Hoek, South Africa
Height 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in)
Playing position Centre back
Youth career
1982–1994 Fish Hoek AFC
1994–1996 Cape Town Spurs
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1994–1998 Cape Town Spurs 92 (5)
1998–2002 Mamelodi Sundowns 114 (6)
2001 Wimbledon (loan) 0 (0)
2002–2004 Rostov 52 (1)
2004–2009 Krylia Sovetov 107 (7)
2009–2011 Mamelodi Sundowns 38 (0)
2011–2013 Ajax Cape Town 40 (5)
2013–2014 Bidvest Wits 19 (1)
Total 448 (24)
National team
1995–1997 South Africa U20 18 (0)
1998–2000 South Africa U23 35 (2)
1999–2010 South Africa 37 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 10 April 2014.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 13 May 2010

Matthew Paul Booth (born 14 March 1977) is a South African football defender who plays for Bidvest Wits in the Premier Soccer League and South Africa. Booth will be remembered as a fan favourite among South African fans whe they chanted ‘Booooooth’ when he touched the ball while British media outlets dubbed him as The White Knight,[2][3] as he was the only white player in the South Africa national squad.[4]

Early life and youth career[edit]

Booth was born in Fish Hoek to Paul and Anthea Booth. His father Paul was an engineer at the Cape Town city council, a semi-professional footballer and administrator for Fish Hoek AFC, his mother, Anthea, was a legal secretary. Booth started playing soccer for Fish Hoek AFC in 1982 at the age of 5.[2] In 1993 he played in the Bayhill U19 tournament[5] for Fish Hoek where he was spotted by Cape Town Spurs coach Richard Gomes who saw a lanky youngster flying into tackles halfheartedly and towering above the opposition's attackers and invited him to train with the club's youth . In 1994, shortly after he turned 17, he trained with the senior squad, a team that went on to win the league and the BobSave Super Bowl.[6] At the time, he worked at a sports shop in Woodstock and he would travel by train to Parow after work to train with the team at CR Vasco da Gama fields at the time and travelled back to Fish Hoek after training. After training, it was then all the way back to Fish Hoek.[5]

Club career[edit]

He started playing professionally in 1996, alongside experienced players like Shaun Bartlett and Craig Rosslee. Cape Town Spurs and Seven Stars were merged in 1999 to form Ajax Cape Town. He was deemed surplus to requirements at Ajax and wanted to sell him to newly formed Mother City F.C.. He fought back eventually joined Mamelodi Sundowns and stayed for three seasons.” Booth was later loaned to Wimbledon and played in Russia, for Rostov and Krylia Sovetov and played with and against players like Branislav Ivanovic, Vagner Love and Jan Koller.[5]

International career[edit]

He made his debut for South Africa on 20 February 1999, against Botswana at the Cosafa Castle Cup. He has so far been capped 37 times scoring two goals. Booth was also a member of the team that participated in the 2010 World Cup as hosts of the competition, but remained an unused substitute for all three group stage matches.

Due to his height, he is considered one of the most important players when meeting opponents with tall players.

He was also a participant at the 2000 Olympics.

International goals[edit]

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 14 July 2001 Durban, South Africa  Malawi 1–0 2–0 2002 WCQ

Personal life[edit]

Since 2006, Booth is married to Sonia Bonneventia Pule, former Miss South Africa first princess, and international model whom he met in 2002.[citation needed] They have two sons, Nathan Katlego, and Noah Neo.[citation needed] Booth saved a woman from being beaten on Cape Town's nightclub strip on Long Street early on a Saturday morning. Booth was playing for Wits in an Absa Premiership game against Ajax Cape Town which they lost 1-0, hosted at Cape Town Stadium on Friday night. After using an ATM and walking back to his friends, he saw a man assaulting the woman and rushed to her . The attacker shoved Booth, who toppled onto a store’s window ledge which had spikes to prevent people sitting on the ledge. Members of the Central City Improvement District took the attacker away. Booth returned to his hotel where the team doctor attended to his injuries.[7]

Retirement[edit]

Booth retired on June 19, 2014 even though he was given an option to renew his contract.[8]

After retirement[edit]

Booth owns junior coaching clinics at a few public schools. Booth has also beean doing some television work for the South African Broadcasting Corporation as an analyst and some writing for the Sowetan. Booth has also registered to do a BA degree through the University of South Africa.[5]

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Cape Town Spurs
Mamelodi Sundowns

Individual[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]