John F. Molinaro, CBC Sports| 20 May 2010| CBCsports|
In an ongoing series, CBCSports.ca asked players, managers, broadcasters, journalists and fans to recall their favourite World Cup memories.
Booth is a defender with the South African national team that is set to compete at next month’s World Cup on home soil. Growing up as a soccer fan in a country where rugby is the most popular sport, Booth watched the World Cup on TV as a boy.
Milla shot to world-wide fame when he scored in a first-round game against Romania at Italia ’90, which is when Booth first became aware of the Cameroonian.
“That was a fantastic moment from an African point of view,” Booth told CBCSports.ca. “It gave hope to African teams for the future.”
No player captured the hearts of spectators at the 1990 World Cup more than Milla, the aging forward who became a fan favourite for his brilliant goals and colourful dance celebrations.
Milla played for Cameroon at the 1982 World Cup before walking away from the game and retiring in 1987 to the French Reunion Islands in the Indian Ocean. He played for a small local club on the island but was coaxed out of retirement in 1990 when Cameroon called him up to play in the World Cup.
It was in Italy that Milla achieved global fame when he scored four goals, all as a substitute. Milla scored twice in Cameroon’s 2-1 win over Romania in the first round to become, at 38 years and 20 days, the oldest player to ever score at the World Cup — a record he broke four years later in the United States.
Milla would go on to score both goals in a 2-1 win over Colombia in the second round to help Cameroon to become the first African nation in the history of the World Cup to reach the quarter-finals.
But it was his first goal against Romania, and his iconic dance celebration that proceeded it, that Booth remembers the most.
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