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Mokoena – He Smoked Two Packs Of Cigarettes A Day

Former Bafana Bafana captain Aaron Mokoena has listed the four best players he’s played with over his career, with one he states was a chain-smoker.

Mokoena, the most capped player in South African men’s football history represented Bayer Leverkusen, Ajax Amsterdam, Germinal Beerschot, KRC Genk, Blackburn Rovers and Portsmouth between 1999 and 2012.

But it appears the great Rovers squad under Mark Hughes is where he was surrounded by the most quality as four of his former teammates make his list.

“I think the first would be Brad Friedel, the American goalkeeper, he was unbelievable, I played with him [at Blackburn],” he said on the Bettor Podcast.

“Tugay Kerimoğlu, you mentioned, unbelievable what he could do with the ball, even to this day I haven’t seen much like that [in footballers].

“That guy could smoke, a day, two packs of cigarettes but he would run more than players who don’t smoke. I’m not really trying to promote smoking in football but I’m telling you about what he could do on the playing field.

“He was getting old when I was playing with him [when he was in his late 30s] but he would run more than players younger than him.

“Morten Gamst Pedersen as well, what a left peg he had on him. We knew with set-plays, Morten is there, very quick, unbelievable crossing and then the last one; Benni McCarthy.

“At Blackburn and the national team I played with him, Benni came in and he scored goals! He could score out of nowhere, he had that quality. Those are standout players.”

Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Kohler
Lorenz Köhler is an award-winning South African football journalist. Having cut his teeth in the industry working at Kick-Off Magazine, he is now iDiski Times' senior digital content writer. He specialises in breaking top African football stories and transfers with a major focus on the 'big-three' Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates and CAF inter-club and international competitions. In 2021 he was listed amongst the top-five journalists under 30 in Print Media for the AIPS Awards.