JOHANNESBURG – Thamsanqa Gabuza was sincere in his message to the supporters of his former team, Orlando Pirates, who he left without saying goodbye after six years to join SuperSport United.
But his parting shot sounded ominous, almost threatening with Matsatsantsa hosting the Buccaneers at Mbombela Stadium tomorrow.
“I would like to say thanks to the fans for the support they gave me in the six years I spent at Pirates,” Gabuza said.
“They pushed me and made me the player that I am today. Even though I didn’t get a chance to properly say goodbye, I am still in football and we will meet again.”
The delivery of the “we will meet again” part was said with the same sincere tone as his kind words to the Ghost, but it stuck out as if he was sending a warning to the club and its fans who he had a love-hate relationship with.
Gabuza scored some important goals for Pirates, including a thunderous strike in the final of the 2015 CAF Confederation Cup. But he didn’t score consistently enough for the liking of the Ghost who made their displeasure known, at one point booing Gabuza.
In August last year Gabuza had enough. He threw his own jersey to Pirates fans who booed him in their 2-1 win over Black Leopards at Peter Mokaba Stadium.
The burly striker stormed off the pitch after contributing to Pirates’ goal, leaving his team to play with 10 men. He closed that chapter of his life with his move to Matsatsantsa who are ambitious and want to challenge for honours, but he won’t find himself clashing with the club’s fans due to their small support base.
“So far so good,” Gabuza said of his time at SuperSport.
“They have warmly welcomed me with open arms and I am happy to be here. Things happen for a reason. I won’t dwell too much with words on my move to SuperSport, some decisions are made in the office and then filter down to you.
The chairman (Irvin Khoza) asked me if I would be keen to join SuperSport, I told him that I would be happy to – just as long as I join the club with his blessings. He gave me his blessings and I found myself here.”
Gabuza claimed that more than five teams were after his signature, but he chose SuperSport because “they wanted me more than the other clubs”. Kaitano Tembo, SuperSport’s coach, spoke about his desire of playing around Gabuza whose strength and aerial presence along with his bulldozing ways make him a threat. Gabuza works for his teammates who benefit from his hustling and bustling. Pirates will be on the receiving end of that work rate tomorrow.
“I am very happy about coming (up) against Pirates,” Gabuza said. “As a footballer, you always look forward to coming up against your former team. There is no point I want to prove against them. I just have to follow the coach’s instructions and do what he instructs me to do.”
Matsatsantsa will be looking to kickstart their campaign with a win after losing to Mamelodi Sundowns in their opening PSL match. Pirates started the season with a win over Bloemfontein Celtic and will be looking to add another three points.
Should Gabuza find the back of the net, he was frank with what he will do afterwards.
“If I score, I will do what I normally do,” he said.