Early Life and Career:
Matthew Booth was born on March 14, 1977, in Fish Hoek, Cape Town, South Africa. He began his football career with Cape Town Spurs in 1994 and went on to play for several other South African clubs, including Mamelodi Sundowns, Santos, and SuperSport United.
Matthew Booth’s career at Mamelodi Sundowns:
Matthew Booth joined Mamelodi Sundowns ahead of the 2000-2001 season. He quickly established himself as a key member of the team, forming a strong defensive partnership with Ghanaian defender Isaac “Ike” Shaku.
In the 2001-2002 season, Booth helped Mamelodi Sundowns win the Premier Soccer League title. The team had the best defensive record in the league, conceding just 20 goals in 30 matches. Booth played a crucial role in the title-winning campaign, making 28 appearances and scoring one goal.
Mamelodi Sundowns struggled in the 2002-2003 season, finishing in 8th place in the league. Booth, however, continued to be a standout performer for the team. He made 27 appearances and scored two goals.
In the 2003-2004 season, Booth helped Mamelodi Sundowns win the ABSA Cup, the club’s first major trophy in five years. The team defeated Kaizer Chiefs 2-0 in the final, with Booth playing the full 90 minutes. Booth made 31 appearances in all competitions and scored two goals.
Mamelodi Sundowns finished as runners-up in the Premier Soccer League in the 2004-2005 season, but Booth was again one of the team’s standout performers. He made 33 appearances in all competitions and scored one goal.
Booth’s final season at Mamelodi Sundowns was the 2005-2006 campaign. The team struggled in the league, finishing in 10th place, but Booth continued to impress. He made 29 appearances in all competitions and scored one goal.
Overall, Booth made 148 appearances for Mamelodi Sundowns and scored seven goals. He established himself as one of the team’s most consistent performers and was widely regarded as one of the best defenders in South African football at the time.
Move to Europe:
In 2006, Booth signed for Russian club Krylia Sovetov Samara, becoming the first South African player to play in the Russian Premier League. He later joined Polish side Wisła Kraków and then Dutch club Ajax Amsterdam, where he won the Eredivisie title in 2011.
Timeline of Matthew Booth’s career in Europe:
In 2006, Matthew Booth signed with Russian Premier League club FK Rostov. He made 20 appearances in his debut season, helping the team avoid relegation.
Booth continued to be a regular in the FK Rostov lineup in the 2007-2008 season, making 25 appearances in all competitions. However, the team struggled and finished in 15th place, just one point above the relegation zone.
Ahead of the 2008-2009 season, Booth signed with Krylia Sovetov Samara, another Russian Premier League club. He made 16 appearances for the team before being loaned out to Mamelodi Sundowns in January 2009.
Booth returned to Krylia Sovetov Samara for the 2009-2010 season, making 24 appearances in all competitions. However, the team struggled and finished in 14th place, just one point above the relegation zone.
Return to South Africa:
In 2011, Booth returned to South Africa and signed for Bidvest Wits. He played for the club for five seasons, helping them win the MTN 8 Cup in 2016. In 2016, he announced his retirement from professional football.
Booth made his debut for the South African national team in 1999 and went on to make 32 appearances for Bafana Bafana. He was a key member of the South African team that won the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations, playing in all six of the team’s matches and helping to keep three clean sheets.
timeline of Matthew Booth’s career with Bafana Bafana:
Booth made his debut for the South African national team in 1999, and quickly established himself as a regular in the squad. He was a key player in the team that won the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations, starting all six matches and helping South Africa to concede just two goals en route to the title.
Booth continued to be a regular in the South African national team in the years following their AFCON triumph. He was part of the squad that competed in the 2004 and 2006 Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, making a total of nine appearances across the two competitions.
After a brief spell out of the national team, Booth returned to the squad in 2007 and was named captain for the first time in a friendly against Uruguay. He continued to be a regular in the team throughout the year, making a total of 11 appearances.
Booth was part of the South African squad that competed in the 2009 Confederations Cup, starting all three group stage matches as the hosts advanced to the semi-finals. He also played in several 2010 World Cup qualifiers, helping South Africa to secure their place as hosts of the tournament.
2010 World Cup:
Booth was named in the South African squad for the 2010 World Cup, and played in two of the team’s matches. He started in the opening game against Mexico, which ended in a 1-1 draw, and also played in the final group stage match against France.
Overall, Booth made a total of 43 appearances for the South African national team between 1999 and 2010, scoring one goal. He was a key player in the team for much of his career, and played a crucial role in the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations triumph.
Style of Play:
Booth was a commanding central defender known for his aerial ability, physical strength, and leadership qualities. He was also known for his long-range passing and ability to start attacks from the back.
Off the Pitch:
Booth was known for his activism off the pitch, particularly in the fight against racism. He was a vocal advocate for diversity and inclusion in football and was involved in several anti-racism campaigns throughout his career. He was also involved in various charitable organizations and was named the 2012 South African Humanitarian of the Year.
Booth was married to Sonia Bonneventia, a former Miss South Africa finalist, and the couple has two children together. Booth is also a qualified quantity surveyor and holds a degree in construction economics. He has been involved in various business ventures since retiring from football, including a property development company and a football academy.