SuperSport United striker Thamsanqa Gabuza has been lauded for his decision to put the team's MTN8 final first and it's been suggested that his Orlando Pirates history played a role.
Gabuza left the wider football fraternity in shock last weekend when it was revealed by coach Kaitano Tembo that he had withheld the news of his son’s passing last Monday so as not to disrupt the team ahead of their cup final against Highlands Park on Saturday.
The 32-year-old played a pivotal role in Matsatsantsa being crowned champions for a third time in their history, but the joy was short-lived as the team’s hearts sank in the dressing room upon his devastating announcement.
However, veteran defender and vice-captain Clayton Daniels has since gained massive respect for ‘Ganda-ganda’, and believes it was a massive decision stemming from his forgettable experiences at his previous club.
“It takes a lot of character to play in a game like that and still put out that kind of man of the match performance without telling anyone,” said Daniels at the Telkom Knockout draw on Wednesday.
“Big respect for him as a footballer, it’s heartfelt and I hope all of us as players can learn from him, how to put your personal issues aside and focus on your work – we can definitely take a page out of that book.
“He kept it quiet, he didn’t want to upset the rhythm of the team and we were all in shock. He said he missed the funeral on the Friday.
“I don’t know, if you look at his situation and where he’s come from, to give something up like that in a crucial moment, it’s a difficult decision both ways [for his family and his career]. But I’m happy for him, he’s achieved something good with us; something that he couldn’t achieve at Orlando Pirates, where he was booed.
“We’ve shown him love; we’ve shown him what it’s like to be a team and a family, and you can see it in his performances – he’s playing his best football now and we hope he continues.”
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Daniels also confirmed that Gabuza has been given some time off this week to recuperate and mourn his late son, as he reiterated the heightened respect the players now have for the burly striker.
“We respect him even more now, and we want to bring him even closer to us – the players and the technical team, so that whenever there is something wrong, the window is open for him to talk about it and we can be there as a support structure for him,” he added.
“He’s taken a break now; the coach has given him off to take some time to fill up where he can and spend some time with the family.”