EPHRAIM “Shakes” Mashaba, reckons under-pressure striker Thamsanqa Gabuza needs to be protected by his coaches in order to regain his confidence.
Shakes is the man who managed to get the best out of Gabuza during his tenure as Bafana Bafana coach.
At that time, around 2015, Mashaba condemned fans who booed Gabuza during Bafana’s international friendly against Ghana.
Mashaba used to get a lot of criticism when he was still Bafana coach for always including Gabuza in his national team squad. Gabuza returned the favour by scoring the important goals for Bafana.
“It’s always tough to pick yourself up. Yes, we can blame Thami. I mean, how do you feel – all the matches you’re playing people are booing you, and at the same time you see yourself working hard.
“I don’t want to talk about Gabuza when he was in Bafana as how you handle the players as coaches differs,” said Mashaba.
Mashaba also spoke about Gabuza losing his temper against Black Leopards.
“It’s not something that came that particular day. It’s been a long time coming. There’s this anger that has been brewing inside him.
“How do you help a player like that? Now, the responsibility lies with us (coaches) to bring Thamsanqa back to the game.”
Mashaba didn’t spare the rod for Orlando Pirates coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic for failure to protect Gabuza from the boo boys.
Gabuza became centre of attention when he dramatically stormed off the pitch after contributing toward an own goal when Pirates defeated Black Leopards 2-1 in a league match two weeks ago. Before that incident, he had missed a string of scoring chances that angered the Bucs fans.
Mashaba said he was not impressed with the fact that Micho added fuel to the fire when he pushed Gabuza instead of calming him down.
Gabuza was subsequently sent off by referee Thando Ndzandzeka after getting two yellow cards for taking off his shirt and leaving the field without the referee’s permission.
“One other thing I didn’t like and won’t shy away from is the behaviour of the coach (Micho) towards the player. I won’t pull punches on that one, he’s the one to protect the player.
“Micho should have taken the player to the dressing room and talked to him, not go to him in the field of play and throw his hands and shout.
“You’re killing him,” he added.