‘Shabba is a very important player’

Tshabalala is amongst several senior players facing backlash from the club’s supporters as they feel fresh faces are needed to take the team forward this season.

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Despite these calls for change from the stands, Solinas has shown his support for the likes of Willard Katsande and Bernard Parker, who have featured in all four of Chiefs’ games this season.

After opening his goal account for the campaign in the 1-1 draw against Baroka on Tuesday, the Italian tactician reserved praise for the 33-year-old winger, while also highlighting his value within the team.

“Tshabalala’s performance was very good, he played well and sacrificed in the defensive job. He also gave good passes, so I’m happy with the performance of Tshabalala,” said Solinas.

“It’s good because this way the mood of 'Shabba' is top, and the goal is also good for his confidence. But, Shabba is a very important player.

“We also understand that Shabba is no longer a young player, so he needs to be managed. It’s not possible that he can play every two days like he’s 22 or 23-years-old.

“He needs to be managed, but I’m happy because, in my opinion, Shabba’s performance [against Baroka] was brilliant.”

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The former Bafana Bafana attacker sat out Amakhosi’s emphatic MTN8 win over Free State Stars over the weekend after starting the two opening Absa Premiership matches.

With his goal on Tuesday coming as a massive boost in confidence, especially given the distrust from the supporters of late, Tshabalala could well be a starter when Chiefs visit Maritzburg United on Friday evening.

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