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Siphiwe Tshabalala

Shabba’s Ranked

by Daniel Friedman / 25.05.2010

Siphiwe Tshabalala might just be the hottest name in South African football right now. The Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana winger Siphiwe comes across as pretty confident. And why not? He’s got the inevitable swagger that comes from his recent good form just a few days shy of a starring role in the world’s biggest sporting event. Unlike some of his colleagues, he’s pretty comfortable under the spotlight. “It’s good to see people appreciating the work you’re doing. Some of us are shy, but there’s nothing you can do about it. We are role models and so can’t avoid public attention. Like entertainers, soccer players are public figures, and there’s nothing wrong with a bit of publicity”.

Tshabala is getting plenty of it right now. While it’s only recently that he has become a household name, the 25-year-old has been part of the national squad for five years and he’s been capped 40 times, having been singled-out by Ted Dumitru as a 20-year-old, when he was still playing for Free State Stars.

Currently his fame is rising and he’s becoming acknowledged as one of the players most likely to make a difference in our upcoming World Cup campaign.

And recent goals against Paraguay and Thailand prove that he has the ability to function as more than a mere midfielder. Which is just as well, because finishing, or rather a lack thereof, has been one Bafana Bafana’s primary weakness in the past few years. “Of course people want to see us scoring goals. But I don’t feel pressurised by this, it inspires me to improve and pushes me to work harder. I hope to do my best. You have to see people’s expectations as a positive thing, as these expectations are what push you to do better. We’ll just do our best to make people proud, and hopefully the goals will come.”

Like his teammate, goalkeeper Ithumeleng Khune, he grew up as a Chiefs fan, making his current position in their team a dream come true. “I grew up supporting Kaizer Chiefs. In my youth I was a great admirer of Doctor Khumalo and Shoes Moshoeu. Of course later on when I started playing for Chiefs I had the opportunity to meet them, which was great for me.”

Tshabalala had plenty of international heroes as a youngster too, “the likes of Eric Cantona, Gianfranco Zola and Ian Wright”. The latter spent much of his career at Tshabalala’s favourite club, Arsenal. He admits that an offer from The Gunners would be pretty hard to pass up. If they were interested? “I’d pack my bags and head to the airport”, he says.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, there’s the small matter of the upcoming World Cup, just a few days away. Tshababala is optimistic about the team’s potential to perform above the supporters’ expectations while admitting that Bafana Bafana haven’t tasted nearly enough success.

I suggest that this lack of success had to do with factors unrelated to the amount of raw talent we have at our disposal, and Tshabalala agrees. “We have plenty of talent, our problem is in realising it and getting the best out of our players. At this level of play it’s not enough just to be talented and play your normal game. It becomes very tactical. It’s about strategy”. But hosting the Cup and having support from a home crowd won’t hurt. “Yes, I think the fans will inspire us to play a better game”, he says. I hope he’s right.

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RESPONSES (39)
  1. Casual Observer says:

    It was great watching Bafana play Bulgaria last night. Tshabalala deserves to be snapped up by a big European club.

    It is just extremely disappointing to know that when the players go back to their local teams their play will degenerate into something I struggle to call beautiful.
    It seems silly to have the national team playing a style of football that has the potential to measure up with international standards and then having the club teams playing with seemingly no thought, discipline or style.

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  2. Cindy says:

    u rock chap ma little cc lyks u a lot, she always want 2 watch u whn u r plying, yho u kln her its nt even funny nd dnt 4gt hw old iz she, lol she iz 10 yrs. kp it up mfowetu

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  3. noma-p says:

    hey chap!hayi ustrongo,ugrand!!!am not a soccer fan but only to c u i watch….again ustrogo chap!!! ;-))

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Dude took a strike from the edge of the box on the volley and I thought here we go again.
    Yet another shyte SA strike towards nothing.
    But to my surprise the ball thundered towards the keeper.
    Good save but even better strike.

    It`s been a long time since I actually enjoyed watching SA play and actually take shots at goal.
    Not just shots but meaningful shots actually meant to score goals not just waste time.

    This performance by Bulgaria actually made me want to watch Bafana play

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  5. Bcoop says:

    We’re going to do far better than everyone thinks in this World Cup.

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  6. sammy-k skhosana says:

    bafwe2 make us proud we yol putn our trust in u.bafana kaofela.

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  7. kay cee says:

    bafana we real are looking forwrd to the 2010 word cup and i believe that you’l can make us proud..FROM ME I SAY BEST OF LUCK OUT THERE AND MAKE US PROUD!!! BAFANA KAOFELA!!!

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  8. Lerato Evodia says:

    Just keep on playin de gud game for us we are behind you all the way.bafana kaofela

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  9. Moja! says:

    THUNDERBOLT! Siphiwe Tshabalala for Arsenal…

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  10. Asanele says:

    Hey Lawrance Siphiwe Tshabalala. wow ure such a great player you’ve made us proud on da 11 of june. You are nw 1 of the legends in S.A… You are so hot bra and i love. jst bear 1 thing in mind dt in whatever u do, plz don’t leave kaizer chiefs. Anyway wish u all the best in future nd we are behind yol where yol are. ke nako!

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  11. Zinhle says:

    Hey siphiwe luvy swty congra uv mad us 2b proud south africans plz bby boy if u dnt mnd cl me on 0734362339 wuld lyk 2 hv a nyc cht wth u ur extremly hot i mean yoh am ur biggest fan jo i mean big wuld lyk 2 meet u sum day yaz

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  12. Hey siphiwe ntho tse monate lawrence tshabalala i wuld lyk 2 meet u sum day yaz tjo dude if u dnt mnd wuld u plz cal me plz on 0734362339 jo am rly proud of u lyk ur mum n dad iz i mean u myd me a proudly south african wow man congra keep up da gud wrk ur extremly hot u knw wat ur doin hot bbe shne 2u wsh u wuld enjoy ur future up until itz da end of da wrld g2b mwah

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  13. NOSIPHO says:

    HI SIPHIWE I JST WANA LET U KNW DAT U MADE US PROUD IM PROUD OF ALL OF U GUYS BEING NT IN FINALS DOESN’T MEAN WE NT BEHIND U WE R ALL DA WAY THANKS FOR REPRESENTING US AS SOUTH AFRICANS PLS IF ANY CHANCE DO 0769777061

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  14. Masego maema says:

    U so hot i wana meet u sumday, im ur biggest fan in da whole wide world

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  15. Yamkela says:

    Hey jersey no.8 and 14. I m taking my chances in writing this, I m not even sure if it will get through to u but I want u to know that u r such an amazing player nd I eenjoy watching u play nd doing the winning dance which I dnt know its name. I really lyk u nd I m sad that u r a football star coz everyone wants a piece of u. U r a great player and I would love 2 c u play 4 Arsenal coz u deserve it, and thanx 4 making us proud during the world cup u really did gr8. My wish is just 2 c u want day nd that’s ol I could b asking 4. GUDLUCK!!!

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  16. Nokonwaba aka Daphney says:

    Hy Shabba I wnt 2 wsh 4 u a bright future & career.
    wth God de impossible thngz become possible so trust in him iz der 4
    u all de tym believ in him. I luv u so mach wth de luv of God couse de luv
    of de people iz conditional & God’z luv iz unconditional kp up de gud work
    tke care hpe sum day we wll meet uthixo esakugcinile nam endigcinile who knowz.

    GUD LUCK & GOD BLESS!!!

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  17. Hy my name is mpho n um 16 old gal 4rm mfk i reali love nd admire u i cnt stop tlkin abt u seeing wt u dd in da openin made me love u even mre u ply wt u heart nd nt 4 da fame u jst complet me i cnt thnk of any beta soca players dan bafana bafana i ws reli n stl reli proud 2 sy um a south african my family n frwnds sys um obsessed wt u bt its nt obsession its jst admiration if i might cl it dat i reli lve 2 mit u

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  18. Vicky says:

    Hi shaba u nw i lyk ur nck nym ntho tse monate its so funny 2 me n im ur whole bigest fan n im a grl who wsh 2 meet u samday i love so much ur such a gud player i mean uv made al of us proud as south africans n i realy enjoy watching u on tv bbs u rock if u dnt mnd gv me a cal on 072 6353 909

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  19. Anonymous says:

    ayeye messi wtchout thsabalala is on his way .

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  20. Kokla-kok says:

    Sho spijos i jurt wan 2 tel u dat plz don leave amakhosi ether u change ur mind or wat an anather thng is i lke ur draits an i wan main 2 be lke urs sho dude ma bru

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  21. Itumeleng says:

    Hi Siphiwe I’d like to say to you that I’m proud of you keep on playing the way you play and I watch soccer because of you and if you don’t mind at all give me a call on 0769691313. I’d like to hear your voice and be your friend.ciao

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  22. Tebza says:

    hala ntho tse monate i just wana tel u dat i m prd of u man an another thng is i wish 2 c u 1 day an u c dat u r so amazing lik a rose plz dnt do mohok,chiskop,skel or skel and cut plz sty wit ur draits 4 ever sho lekhosi 4 life

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  23. Klg says:

    Hala ntshabba i just wana tel u dat i lov u ma bbe an if u dnt mnd u cne cl me on 079 2423228

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  24. Klg says:

    Hala tshabba i just wana tel u dat i lov u ma bbe an if u dnt mnd u cne cl me on 079 2423228

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  25. Anonymous says:

    Hi i go by the name of LEBO T NGWANA WA KO ROCKVILLE JST WANNA SY THAT IAM A HUGE FAN,ALWAYS BEHIND YOU &SUPPORT YOU ALL THE WAY&HAPPY COMING BIRTH DAY FOR 25 SEP OH &MINE IS ON THE 26NOV

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  26. Hy siphiwe am tiisetso am 14 yrs old i luv u with all my heart am sure i wil be the first one to say happy birthday for tomrw 25 sept and am ure biggst fan in the world i know everythn abt u am so in love with u ure my role model if u dnt mynd callin me 0790349915 ciao

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  27. Pls reply if u got dat email pls siphiwe lawerance tshabala and happy birthday for tomrw

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  28. Itumeleng says:

    Happy birthday Siphiwe ur a grown up and take care of urself ur turning 26 2morrow.

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  29. Mpumie says:

    Hey shabba its mpumy hre,hapi blated bday nd knw dat i luv u so mch u r ma role model.gud luck nd plz col me if u dnt mind 0781573251

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  30. Anonymous says:

    Hi handsum,hayi maan u r such a strong guy,i lyk de way u play,run,walk and move.to be honest i have a huge crush on you.if u dnt mind u cn cal me on 0765544547,jst to chat.

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  31. Anonymous says:

    Ndoda u such an amazng person thy col mi by ur nym coz am vry tricky whn am on d ball! Plz dnt let d fame control i wna c u in an asenarl t-shrt alng syd fabricas!

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  32. Am reali sori for wat happend to ure mom nd i jst want to sent y condoleces nd m proud of wat u did on saterday nd as thy say friends come nd go bt mothers are here to stay u have lost someone u luv bt u wil get somthin in return she will always be with u gud luck

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  33. One day is one day the big beautiful day is comming and i wil be proud to say my dreams has come true.the day which is going to bring joy,happiness and bright colours of a rainbow nation is when i hold sphiwe’s hand and say you are my role model,you are like a brother to me u remind me of my late father’you are bringing tears of joy in my eyes.you are a star,you are a hero.sphiwe ‘ntho tse monate’tshabalala,the day i will touch your hand my tears will fall down like a rain a rain that will fall down and wet the two of us.i imagine you wipping the tears of joy that fall down through my eyes.i am a kaizerchiefs big fan.if you can help me meet sphiwe you can call me 0715401285 thanks

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  34. One day is one day.the big beautiful iz comming and i will be proud to say my dreams has come true.the day which is going to bring joy,happiness bright colours of the rainbow nation,is when i touched sphiwe’s hand and say you are my role model,you are like a brother to me,you remind me of my late father you are bringing tears of joy in my eyes.you are a star,you are a hero that make us glow with with happiness.nthotsemonate tshabalala the day i will hold your hand my tears will fall like a rain that will fall down and wet the two of us i imagine u wipping the tears of joy that fall through my eyes sphiwe nthotsemonate tshabalala you are a star that glows in the sky. I am giving you the new nickname you are Leftilicious.if knw how can i meet sphiwe plz cal me on 0715401285.

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  35. Hey!sphiwe “ntho tse monate”tshabalala.you are a star that glows in the sky.i wish you all the best and i hope one day you will play for Arsenal.i know this is one of your big dreams.i think you should call yourself,Leftilicious because your left foot works for you a lot.if you read this massege please just call atleast say’thank you’.you are a good inspiration.sphiwe “leftilicious”tshabalala.here is my contact 0715401285.

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  36. Pertunia sibeko says:

    Hy cpwe,u knw i lv u i cnt help bt 2 c u on tv n scream lyk i’ve seen a ghost n i even have a nickname jst 4 u my dear lv u lots mwaaaaaa…

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  37. Hala!sphiwe’leftilicious’tshabalala.you have what it takes to be a role model to us.you are a good inspiration ,you are always positive..you always face reality.you lost your mum and then came this “nangani” man but you were strong.you don’t give up,life is full of up’s and down’s bt you always face your fear’s.i am always behind you and kaizer chiefs.you can call me if you don’t mind 0715401285.i am just a 15 yrz old gal who likes soccer a lot.you are my role model.

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  38. Hey sphiwe my role model!you have what it takes to be a role model, what i can tell is that you are nothing but something.you are the star that glows in the sky.i want you to know that i am always behind you,you dont put your personal life in sport light.i know and believe that one of the good days you are going to play for Arsenal,you deserve to play for the big team,just take one step at the time.halala tshabalala.

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  39. Anonymous says:

    ola ma brada hae odlala ka shoes tse pila bra

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