Orlando Pirates boss Irvin Khoza defends under-fire striker Thamsanqa Gabuza
Posted: 31 August 2018 Time: 14:00
Orlando Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza has voiced his support for striker Thamsanqa Gabuza, and explained that his value within the team is similar to that of the late Senzo Meyiwa.
Gabuza has made headlines this week after storming off the pitch during Pirates' 2-1 win over Black Leopards at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Tuesday evening.
The 31-year-old frontman has come under harsh criticism for his outburst, with many of the club’s supporters calling for his immediate dismissal.
However, Khoza has since defended his presence in the squad over the last five years, and highlighted his contribution both on and off the field.
“Gabuza is a special player. He is a team player. He makes the team laugh with his jokes. Gabuza is hardworking and he loves the club,” Khoza told IOL Sport.
“There’s something special about the boy and that’s why I’m on his side. He's like Senzo Meyiwa. Gabuza will never give you attitude. He is a nice boy.
“Even if he is not in the 18-man team, you will find him at training, working hard as if he is part of the matchday squad. That’s how passionate the boy is.
“We don’t condone his behaviour. As a role model he should be able to deal with criticism positively. Your temperament must be able to overcome all the challenges.
“You must concentrate on the game. Sometimes you need to be patient. If I wasn’t patient I wouldn’t be in football still, but I’m still in football. His attitude was unprofessional.
“It was an act of misconduct and it really tarnished the reputation and the image of the club. But he is very remorseful for his actions. Gabuza is a very humble person. He told me he was wrong but he's doing his best for the club.”
His shortage of goals in recent seasons is another reason why supporters have grown increasingly impatient with the former Golden Arrows striker, which is perhaps what led to his rash reaction on Tuesday.
The ‘Iron Duke’ though explained the influence jeering can have on players, particularly strikers who face an array of pressures as it is, and pointed to Gabuza’s track record with Bafana Bafana.
“It is very important to understand that for strikers to score goals it also depends on your temperament, mixed emotions, anxiety and the energy,” he added.
“That can be influenced by your own supporters. There’s a difference between jeering and cheering. If people jeer at you, you end up losing your steps. You become destabilised. You end up losing your cool.
"Gabuza is not a lazy player. He is the most performing player. He loves the club and he wants to give back. Gabuza was top goal scorer under Shakes Mashaba for Bafana Bafana.”