“Our talents are the gift that God gives to us, what we make of our talents is our gift back to God.” – Felice Leonardo “Leo” Buscaglia
Sombreness overcame me when I heard of the untimely demise of Simphiwe Mosia, a gifted man that many of us came to know by his second given name, Boy-Boy. Blessed with the technical skills that typify the quintessential Mzansi footballer, Boy-Boy was one of those once in a generation players who seemed to have been sent by the Angels from God. It pains me how his football career seemed to never reach the lofty peaks that his abilities merited, and that’s saying a lot, when you realise that Boy-Boy had a football career & life that many young South Africans grow up dreaming of turning into a reality. Boy-Boy Mosia left us 22 days after to his 31st birthday in Hammarsdale, Kwa-Zulu Natal on July 23rd, 2016. A large portion of his life was spent bringing joy to ticket buying supporters on the field, a place where his talents made him stand head and shoulders above his peers, and defy his diminutive stature through his sheer presence on the ball. Therein is the beauty in his life, Boy-Boy lived, he lived a life that many a South African lad dreams of, and his journey is one we should all garner teachable moments from.
As a 14 year old prodigy, Boy-Boy was scouted by Serie A giants Juventus Football Club, and invited over to spend time with their development side; spending a year as a Juve apprentice, the young Boy-Boy developed his game further and begun a relationship with European football that would have many more chapters in the years to come. Returning home to sign for AmaZulu’s youth side, Boy-Boy continued his development at a steady rate, and begun to build upon his reputation as one of the best young players in the country. Boy-Boy’s status as one of the nation’s premier talents was confirmed when he was scouted for and enrolled in, the Transnet/SAFA School of Excellence, where the dribbling wizard joined a group of players that were being groomed to become future professionals, and hopefully even lead the national teams to success.
Playing in an environment catering to the nurturing of talented teenage lads into professional footballers, Boy-Boy excelled at the School of Excellence, and his great rise to prominence was also rewarded with recognition at junior youth level, getting called-up to the South Africa u/20 squad for the 2003 u/20 Cosafa Cup as an 18 year old. South Africa finished 3rd in the tournament, hosted on home soil, and Boy-Boy impressed with his playmaking abilities and improving finishing nous. The journey took another turn when Boy-Boy impressed Chelsea scouts while on tour with the School of Excellence squad in Ireland, The Blues signed Boy-Boy, along with fellow SoE graduates, the late, Pule Jeffery Ntuka & Masilo Michael Modubi. The three South African would spend some time training with the Chelsea reserve side during the off-season, while being loaned out long-term to feeder club K.V.C. Westerlo, in the hopes that they would gain experience and international caps to qualify for work permits and play for Chelsea, or gain Belgian citizenship, which would allow them to be registered as EU citizens.
The diminutive Boy-Boy found it harder to acclimatise to Belgian football due to his frame and style of play, while Jeffery and Masilo overcame their initial obstacles and begun to progress in their development at a good rate, Mosia begun to regress due to a lack of regular game time. Chelsea intervened in January of 2006, sending him to K.F.C. Dessel Sport in the hopes of getting him more first team exposure; three seasons had passed by and Boy-Boy had still not fully found his feet in Europe, yet the faith remained, albeit from the side of the player and not his parent club in London. Chelsea looked to afford Boy-Boy with the best possible platform to become a professional footballer in Europe, allowing him to transfer on a free to Oud-Heverlee Leuven at the start of the 2006/07 season.
Finding a new lease on life in the Belgian 2nd tier, Boy-Boy became a terrace favourite for Oud-Heverlee Leuven, whose fans came to admire the diminutive playmaker that could play anywhere across the midfield, and still find ways to punish opponents while entertaining the fans. Boy-Boy enjoyed the best years of his professional career in the 3 seasons he spent as a Oud-Heverlee Leuven player, a time that is also fondly remembered by the fans of the club who we fortunate enough to witness some of his best displays as a professional. At 23 years old, Boy-Boy returned home to South Africa with a resume that many players retire never boasting, and it was hurtful to see our local clubs fail to give him the opportunities and support he needed to prolong his career and truly fulfil his potential. A somewhat promising spell with Mpumalanga Black Aces, in the 2008-09 season, was mutually terminated early when Boy-Boy felt aggrieved with issues within the club management, that curtailed homecoming was the last we saw of the gifted playmaker as a professional footballer.
If you had to look at what the average South African footballer today has accomplished at 24, flashy cars, social media followers, and a cap or two will be all they have to show for their God given abilities, in an age where we have the scope to do and achieve so much more due to the progress made in the past, by folks like Boy-Boy. When I speak of what Boy-Boy Mosia accomplished when he left the game at 24, I am amazed at his resilience and determination to persevere in a foreign country at such a young age. The same determination Boy-Boy showed when taking on opponents, he showed when the door was shut on his Chelsea dream when he reached 21; at a crossroads where, the few South African lads that dare to go abroad, often find themselves, Boy-Boy chose to bank on his abilities and made a career for himself in Europe when the odds seemed to continually stack against him.
The generation of players that Boy-Boy came from was a highly talented, and somewhat highly troubled one too; our nations socio-economic factors compiled to make lasting success largley unattainable for many gifted players that were born in the 1980’s, South African football will forever wear those scars, and ask itself what might have happened had they been nurtured in a different time. Boy-Boy never played for Bafana Bafana, which compiles the hurt of all the potential we have lost as a nation over the years even more, yet the former South African u/20 & u/23 international will go down as one of our most gifted exports since readmission.
One of the highlights of Boy-Boy’s career was winning with his nation, 3rd place at the 2003 u/20 Cosafa Cup & a Gold medal at the 2004 edition saw him play alongside, and against, players that will go down in the history pages of South African and Southern African football history; the 2003 & 2004 editions of the u/20 Cosafa Cup featured players like Elrio van Heerden, Nhlanhla Shabalala, Graham (Salmaan) King, Lerato Chabangu, Robyn Johannes, Lebohang Mokoena, Daine Klate, Junior Khanye, Felix Katongo, Clifford Mulenga, Jospeh Kamwendo, Jimmy Zakazaka, Rainford Kalaba, Dominic Yobe, Kingston Nkhatha, Davies Nkausu & Lima.
Full Name: Simphiwe Boy-Boy Mosia
DoB: July 1st, 1985
PoB: Pretoria, Gauteng; South Africa
DoD: July 23rd, 2016 (31)
PoD: Hammarsdale, Kwa-Zulu Natal; South Africa
Position/s: Attacking Midfielder, Advanced Playmaker, Winger, Trequartista (Left/Right/Centre)
Height: 1, 55m
Preferred Foot: Either
Caps & Goals: N/A | South African u/20 & u/23 International
Former Club/s: MG Stars (1994-1999) | Juventus F.C. (1999-2000) | AmaZulu F.C. (2001-2002) | Transnet/SAFA School of Excellence (2001-2003) | Ajax Cape Town F.C. (2001-2002, Loan) | Orlando Pirates F.C. (2002-2003, Loan) | Chelsea F.C. (2003-2006) | K.V.C. Westerlo (2003-2004, Loan) | K.F.C. Dessel Sport (2004-2006, Loan) | Oud-Heverlee Leuven (2006-2008) | Mpumalanga Black Aces (2008-2009)