SuperSport United MTN8winning striker Thamsanqa Gabuza was so full of life in the build-up to the Saturday’s final that one could hardly tell that he had lost a child, according to club’s communications head David Skosana yesterday. “Gabuza was full of life and joked with his teammates at training as they prepared for the match on Saturday. “You could hardly notice that he had lost a child. He was equally dedicated to his game on Saturday and helped us to win the final.
He displayed a high level of professionalism and sheer commitment to the cause,” Skosana told Sowetan.
He said the club appreciated the dedication of the imposing attacker who joined Matsatsantsa from Orlando Pirates in the off-season and made an instant impression at his new team.
Gabuza kept the news of his son’s death from his teammates and he did not attend the burial on Thursday as he did not want to upset the camp ahead of such a crucial match. On Saturday at Orlando Stadium in Soweto, he pulled off a man-of-the-match performance as he helped SuperSport to win the Wafa Wafa cup by beating Highlands Park 1-0. He finished as the tournament’s top scorer. SuperSport coach Kaitano Tembo said after their triumph that the gangling forward, who also played for Golden Arrows, didn’t inform the team nor attend his son’s funeral on Thursday in fear of shifting the focus of his team ahead of the final.
“I think I’m a little bit emotional but not because of the game‚” a sombre-looking Tembo said when he was asked for his reaction after winning his first trophy in only his second season as head coach of SuperSport.
“It’s because of the sad news I heard just after the game concerning Gabuza. It’s something that he did and I was not even expecting him to do that. “I won’t even encourage him to do that. I think he did what he did for the badge. He lost his son on Monday and he never told anyone.
“The funeral was on Thursday and he never attended because he only told us in the dressing room now‚” continued Tembo to the shellshocked journalists in his official post-match conference. “He didn’t want to upset the camp because we were facing a very crucial game. For me, it [the news] just killed everything because I see someone who’s really committed‚ someone who a lot of players can learn from.
“He got to go through that and still play the way he played – play a Man of the Match performance like that on the back of what happened. I think for me I dedic ate this win and this cup to him because I think from day one he really deserves [it].”
Gabuza‚ who refused to talk to the media about his son or the game after the match‚ trying to hide his sadness in the team’s changing room after the match, was seen in videos celebrating with his team, with his R25,000 Man of the Match cheque not leaving his hands.
Skosana said yesterday that Gabuza will not talk to the media this week.
Gabuza joined SuperSport at the beginning of this season following six seasons that didn’t end well at Pirates as he struggled to score goals or win any silverware in his last four years.
He scored a paltry 11 goals in 95 matches but seemed to have found his real home at SuperSport where he has scored four goals in 11 games in all competitions. Gabuza’s strike partner Bradley Grobler scored the winning goal on Saturday to capture their third top-eight trophy and a second in three seasons.
‘ ‘ I was not even expecting him to do that. I think he did it for the badge