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Mokoena becomes first South African to win 100 caps

Aaron Mokoena became the first South African footballer to win 100 caps when he led his country in a World Cup warm-up against Guatemala in this northern city Monday.

The central defender popularly called Mbazo (The Axe) made his debut in a 2-1 away victory against Botswana in a regional Castle Cup encounter 11 years ago.

While Mokoena has always been chosen in the middle of the backline for Bafana Bafana (The Boys), English club Portsmouth usually deploy him in a defensive midfield role.

The 29-year-old from Johannesburg is the latest centreback to skipper his country, following in the distinguished footsteps of retired stars Neil Tovey and Lucas Radebe.

Tovey led South Africa to glory in the 1996 African Nations Cup with a 2-0 final triumph over Tunisia and was succeeded by Radebe, who became a defensive giant with then English Premiership club Leeds United.

World Cup hosts South Africa complete their friendly fixtures against Denmark near Pretoria Saturday before facing Mexico on June 11 in the opening match of the June 11-July 11 tournament.

Mon 31 May, 2010
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