Cape Town – Orlando Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza has spoken of the positive influence Thamsanqa Gabuza brings to the Bucs dressing room.
The Bafana striker’s actions appeared to be a protest at those fans who have been quick to get on his back when he has missed goal-scoring chances.
While not condoning the player’s actions, the Buccaneers boss has emphasised with what he has gone through, and says the club will give Gabuza their full support.
He also spoke glowingly about the attributes the Bafana Bafana striker brings to the team.
“Gabuza is a special player,” Dr Khoza was quoted saying by The Star. “He is a team player. He makes the team laugh with his jokes.
“Gabuza is hard working and he loves the club. There’s something special about the boy and that’s why I’m on his side.
“He’s like Senzo Meyiwa (the late Pirates goalkeeper who died in 2014). 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 the part of the match-day squad. That’s how passionate the boy is.”
The Iron Duke did concede that Gabuza’s actions were out of order, but is willing to help the player get through a difficult time in his career.
“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,” Khoza said.
“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.
“I’m waiting for the report of the match commissioner. We also have to get the report of the psychologist because his attitude wasn’t normal. Sometimes taking quick decisions is not a solution. We all make mistakes.
“We have two weeks to deal with this matter. We have to make adjustments to find the solution. We have to see whether the solution is the psychologist or the striker’s coach,” Khoza explained.
“It is very important to understand that for striker to score goals it also depends on your temperament, mixed emotions, anxiety and the energy. 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,” Khoza continued.
“Gabuza is not a lazy player. He is the most performing player. He loves the club and he wants to give back. Gabuza was a top goal-scorer under Shakes Mashaba for Bafana Bafana.”
The Bucs boss is aware of the emotions that football brings out, and gave the following examples of this:
“We need to be patient. Eric Cantona once kicked a supporter (when he was playing for Manchester United in 1995 against Crystal Palace).
“Three months before we won the CAF Champions League in 1995, I was told to get rid of Jerry Sikhosana. Fans were saying Jerry is fighting with referees, he is not passing the ball and has tantrums. I knew that Jerry was street wise. We needed his mentality. He was a strong person.
“If I listened I would have been insulted. Jerry won us the Champions League and he is still a hero even today. We can’t encourage negative mentality. There must be balance in support.”