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We're ready for Spain: Shabba

THE dreadlocked midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala who is affectionately known as Shabba and has a reputation for netting spectacular strikes is amped to take on the current World Champions Spain in the hope of bringing victory to his fans at the FNB stadium on November 19.

Tshabalala, who hails from Soweto, is the most-capped Bafana Bafana player in the current squad having played 83 games for South Africa. He went into the annals of fame when he scored the first goal of the 2010 FIFA World Cup against Mexico which later received a nomination for goal of the year by FIFA.

In a twist of fate, the team that scored the first goal of the last World Cup (Bafana Bafana) are up against the team that scored the last goal (Spain) at the stadium where Spain were crowned world champions.

Born in the mid-eighties in Phiri, Soweto, just seven minutes west from the Orlando Stadium. As a young boy Tshabalala played first for Phiri Arsenal and later for the Phiri Movers. “Every kid on the street played soccer, but at the age of 10, I realised I had potential and that I could make something out of this and that’s when it all started,” he said. As a teenager he was already playing for his current club, in the junior levels of Kaizer Chiefs as well as Moroka Swallows. 

Inspired by the formidable Benni McCarthy, Tshabalala played for Alexandra United and Free State Stars before being picked for his debut with the national team in a friendly against Egypt in 2006. In early 2007 Kaizer Chiefs brought back their own product and he has since been one of the most influential players leading the club to several cup wins. In 2010 Shabba was named SAFA Footballer of the Year.

More recently, in August this year, Shabba fired a well-delivered goal to take South Africa into the lead against Burkina Faso that helped South Africa charge on to victory. His performance was superb as he continued attacking and he was awarded the Man of the Match. Captain Itumeleng Khune praised Tshabalala saying he is an inspiration to all the players.

“Everyone knows what Shabba is capable of. He has taken two Man of the Match awards

this season already at club level and now the third one playing for Bafana. He is a magnificent player,” Khune said.

South Africa will be fielding a side bursting with both veterans and young blood that includes Dean Furman, Kagisho Dikgacoi and Kermit Erasmus. The Spanish team includes 13 players who were part of the 2010 FIFA World Cup winning team in South Africa and superstars like Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas and Santo Carzola will be ready for action.

“Whenever I take the field I know my family is behind me, God is behind me and the supporters fill the stadium to watch me play,” said Tshabalala.

Whether you’re a soccer fundi or not, the incredible game on the 19th November is sure to impress and all South Africans are encouraged to get down to the FNB Stadium and support our local boys.

Tickets for the match are on sale at Computicket, Shoprite, Checkers and Shoprite/Checkers stores countrywide. Tickets cost R50 for the top tier, R200 for the middle tier and R100 for the bottom tier. There are also suite ticket packages available for R895 and R1650.

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