Shakes Mashaba explains why Thamsanqa Gabuza is a valuable player in any team


Ex-Bafana Bafana head coach Shakes Mashaba says what Thamsanqa Gabuza is currently doing at SuperSport United is nothing new to him.

Mashaba, who was often criticised for selecting the striker while still in charge of the national team, says players like Gabuza are always misunderstood just because they lack dribbling skills and don't score often.

"Gabuza was [always] a player," Mashaba tells

"It's just that here at home you are only a player if you play like the likes of Percy Tau. People don't look at the specialisation of a player, they want you to be all over making noise running there to get the ball and come this side... no, that doesn't work.

"I always tell people that I can't do without people like [Tokelo] Rantie and Gabuza, they have that presence you know. Because already when they see them in your team list it's minus three players to the opposition. All they talk about is to mark him.

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"Gabuza will knock you off the ball, he will give you a big problem. Your defence will never do as they please, never! You see players like Gabuza are not people with dribbling skill you see, they just shoot. If you play him with the right combination he will do the job for you. He will score that vital goal for you. Not many but that vital goal.

"He is not CR7 [Cristiano Ronaldo] of 700 goals, but Gabuza will get you that specific goal you want. He will get it for you, and if it's his day he will mark for you, chase people and bring them here. He is a utility player, something that people don't realise, they think Gabuza is just a robot, he is stiff you see. If you use him well... even now at Bafana I would still use Gabuza, I don't want to lie to you. Look at SuperSport, he scores, unexpectedly he will score a goal. What I like about him is his presence in that number nine position."

READ: 'Pirates contributed to Gabuza decision'

Mashaba feels previous Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic didn't understand the former Golden Arrows frontman.

"It's just that people expect you to do impossible things you know. At Pirates I don't think the coach had confidence in Gabuza. He just put him in for the sake of putting him in. If you look at the difference of Pirates and SuperSport, you can see they've got a plan around Gabuza and he's paying them back.

"As for me I still like him even now, the problem with Gabuza is that he's too apologetic. If he makes a mistake he makes it a serious issue and that is killing him you know. It just finishes him off. I used to tell him, 'Look a mistake will help you improve, if you don't want to make a mistake you won't be right, just continue playing.'"

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Mashaba says it is not true that the former Golden Arrows forward is better suited to small clubs compared to the big ones.

"No no no, he is not a small-team player. You know a player is given by your coach the energy and confidence. Once you show confidence in the player... and don't give him impossible instructions, no. That's why it's very important to understand your players' strong points and weak points. But I'm telling you, Gabuza for Bafana Bafana in certain games I can still play him."