Bafana Bafana legend Siphiwe Tshabalala joined AmaZulu last season – triggering “high expectations” from ‘Usuthu’ fans.
However, the 36-year-old was one of five players who were recently shown the exit door by the KwaZulu-Natal outfit.
AmaZulu head coach Benni McCarthy said that he decided to release Tshabalala to give younger players an opportunity to showcase their talent and shine in South Africa’s top-flight.
Tshabalala, who scored the stunning 2010 Fifa World Cup opening goal against Mexico only made two DStv Premiership appearances in AmaZulu colours with McCarthy stating that: “That’s football, life happened.”
“I’ve got a group of young, talented players that won’t come through if we keep holding on to the senior players.
“Shabba has been a fantastic player to have, he has given the knowledge that he had, passed it on to the team and he might feel that he could still give more than that. And I definitely think so.”
The 2020/21 Premier Soccer League (PSL) Coach of the Year added that the game has evolved and prefers to lose an icon [Tshabalala] of the game to gain another superstar, another icon in a few years’ time.
“While they are 19, give them the opportunity. These young boys run for fun and it’s about speed and the way we play.
“I play a very high pressing game. I like my front men to work really hard. And if you don’t have that hard work ethic, then you’ll find yourself struggling to get into the team.
“And I think at times, the pace of the game was just ahead of us, because Shabba is from my generation. He’s given us unbelievable qualities, he’s a brilliant football player, super nice guy. Very good for the young players around him, is always helpful. And he’s been phenomenal.
“If you hold on to the senior players, the young players are just not going to get a shout. They’re not going to get the opportunity. And if they close to the level of the senior players, then you have to throw them in.”
McCarthy added: “It’s a tough decision. And that’s what I’m about, I’m not afraid to make those decisions. Some people like, some people don’t.
“So, it felt that it was the right decision, to have young players breakthrough from the MDC ranks, getting their way into the first team. So, you have to make those kinds of decisions. And that’s what happened to Shabba,” concluded McCarthy.
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By Tokelo Mokhesi