More than 200 games, four league titles and a member of the historic CAF Champions League winning squad nearly four years ago.
That’s the story of Surprise Moriri, a true Mamelodi Sundowns legend who returned to Chloorkop to give back at the club he loves following a brief spell with Highlands Park. Moriri spent 12 years wearing the Masandawana jersey, making that his longest stint with one club in the Premier Soccer League having arrived from Platinum Stars.
Now Youth Development Coach, during his playing days Moriri was very easily a player who today would fall in the false number nine category or even modern attacking midfielder – a scorer and provider of goals alike.
He is remembered for many things, one of them being a key figure of the 2006 Absa Premiership winning team, which ended Sundowns’ league title drought that had stretched to five years until all that changed, with Moriri one of the core players.
Moriri ended that season on a personal high, too – being voted the Player of the Season and scoring 12 goals in all competitions to make him the top goal scorer at Sundowns as they marched to claiming the championship.
Who could forget that 2007 international friendly against Barcelona at a packed Loftus Stadium, when Moriri beat goalkeeper Victor Valdes to break the deadlock within the first two minutes of that gigantic battle and unleashed his trademark machine gun celebration?
The match, with Barcelona led by Carles Puyol, Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto’o, ended with the Spanish powerhouse clawing their way back to win 2-1.
But Moriri and his teammates had made their mark.
Another one of his crowning moments was representing Bafana Bafana at the 2010 World Cup on home soil, an achievement that will also be remembered fondly by our head coach Pitso Mosimane, the assistant to Carlos Alberto Parreira at the time.
The two not only share those World Cup memories, but they reunited when Mosimane took his place in the Downs hot seat two years later.
Moriri was a rare breed…