If one has to run a poll right now and ask Orlando Pirates fans to vote for the most hated player in their squad I would bet my last Zimbabwean Million Dollars that Thamsanqa ‘Gandaganda’ Gabuza would win the contest hands down.
This player is fast becoming a nightmare to most Pirates fans because everyone wants him gone except the coaches that go in and out of the Pirates revolving gate. The player even went as far as being the first player on the former National Coach’s, Shakes Mashaba, starting eleven when he was in charge of Bafana Bafana about a year ago. Need I say more, the player is still leading the line and is a central figure in the Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevich Bucs revival campaign.
The question is how do Gabuza survives the sharp axe that the ‘Iron Duke’, Doctor Irvin Khoza, is known to wield as wildly when faced with incompetence? Many were shocked when the likes of Oupa Manyisa, Tendai Ndoro where offloaded from the Bucs ship whilst the Gandaganda remained firmly on board the bucs ship.
I mean when one looks at Gabuza’s record at Pirates then it really does not make sense. In the past three seasons at the club the player scored less than 10 goals. Oops let me say less than 5 goals. This is a pathetic return for a striker. How the player made it to lead the line for Bafana is amazing when one considers his goal scoring record at club level.
As a self-proclaimed football fundi I made it my duty to dig in and find what makes the player a darling of almost all the coaches that occupied the hottest seat in the PSL over the past three years? Many coaches loves players that are hard workers. Gabuza is certainly a very hard worker. He runs tirelessly and is a nightmare to many defenders in the PSL. This alone has made him a darling of many coaches.
The second factor is that many football lovers have got the understanding that as a striker the only thing you have to do is to score goals. What Gabuza is currently experiencing have been experienced by many good strikers across the world.
These are strikers called the “target man or classic number 9’s”. These are often tall strikers that are very languid and not the most skilfull footballers one can get. I can think of players such as Phil Masinga and Pollen Ndlanya in local football circles. Abroad I can think of the none other than Olivier Giroud the Arsenal striker that is the most underrated and un-appreciated footballer in England. This is simply because of his style of play that many so dislike. Many across the football world have from time to time mentioned that the role of the classic number 9 have been misunderstood.
When one watches the Pirates game under Micho one can see the importance of Gandaganda in the Bucs system. He is gives the attack shape and becomes the focal point of their attacks. He is good in holding up play and gives the speedy players enough time to join the attack from midfield and making late runs into the box. This allow them to create more scoring chances and to run on to the knock downs from King Gabuza.
This also allow for Pirates to play on the counter attack as they now have a player that can hold up the ball and bring in the midfielders with late runs into the box. The fact that the Arial prowess of Gabuza is one of his strong points allows for Pirates to employ wing play into its arsenal. All of a sudden Gabuza has also now started adding goals to his repertoire. His recent brace against Polokwane City rescued the team from the jaws of defeat.
I do believe that the poor goal returns from the player has made him the opposite of what a fan favourite would be. His very provocative celebrations has further cemented his status as public enemy number one amongst the Ghost. However, if there is one thing that one cannot fault him on, it is his commitment to the cause. This makes up for his poor technical abilities.
However, under Micho I believe the other qualities he has is coming to the fore. I think Micho plays to his strengths and if the player can improve his finishing touches then I can bet you the Ghost would be won over. Most importantly, I hope that the players can understand the role that Gandaganda plays in order to profit from his knock downs.
By Andile Chase Namntu – The Armchair Football Guru