Former Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana Bafana star Siphiwe ‘Shabba’ Tshabalala insists that his playing career is not over, even though the 38 year-old he has been without a club since being released by AmaZulu before the start of the 2021/22 season.
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“I am not retired yet, I am still Siphiwe Tshabalala, active soccer player,” said Tshabalala this week, at the launch of the Discovery Walter Sisulu Soccer Challenge in Sandton.
On his lengthy absence from the playing field affecting his chances, Tshabalala added: “I am sure it does, obviously being away from football for a long time. But I haven’t stopped training, I haven’t stopped working out, taking care of myself.”
‘Shabba,’ whose only spell abroad was an unsuccessful season at Erzumspor in Turkey, says he did have another overseas offer recently, but says he would rather stay in South Africa.
“On Monday someone sent me a text about an opportunity to play abroad but I did not entertain it. I want to focus more at home and there is a lot I need to achieve at home, not only on the football side, in development as well, and in the role I play on the education side,” added Tshabalala, who runs his own foundation.
“I still have the desire to play at the highest level, if it doesn’t happen, ok, if I wake up and so ok, that’s it, thank you to football, I will have no regrets, I have had a lot of highs. I am grateful and my heart is full.”
Tshabalala also believes there is ageism in South African football, where players over 30 are not gvien a fair chance.
“I think age is still an issue in South Africa,” he said.
“Once you reach a certain age you are seen as old, the focus is not on what you can still do, it is about your age.”