Siphiwe Tshabalala is leaving Kaizer Chiefs to join Turkish Super Lig side BB Erzurumspor.
‘Shabba’, as the Soweto-born is affectionally known, has made a fantastic contribution to Amakhosi over the years and will take his place amongst the legends of the club.
The midfielder joined Chiefs in January 2007 from Free State Stars. However, he missed the first six months due to injury. As a result, Tshabalala only made his Chiefs debut against Bidvest Wits on 31 August 2007.
His first goal in the Gold and Black jersey followed a few months later against SuperSport United, helping his side to a 1-0 win on 31 October 2007.
Tshabalala has played 372 games for Kaizer Chiefs, including 336 starts and 36 subs. He has scored 58 goals for the Glamour Boys, with the last one a beautifully taken free-kick against Baroka FC in a one-all draw on 14 August 2018.
His 350th official Chiefs game came against SuperSport United on 6 January 2017.
Shabba holds the record of players making an appearance in the Soweto Derby against Orlando Pirates since the formation of the PSL in 1996. He has played in 31 Derbies (scoring four goals). His first Derby came on 24 November 2007 (away, 2-2 draw). His most recent Derby was on 3 March 2018.
The 33-year-old has won numerous trophies with Kaizer Chiefs, including the league twice (2012/2013, 2014/2015), the Telkom Knockout three times (2007, 2010, 2011), MTN8 twice (2008, 2014) and the Nedbank Cup once (2013).
When asked to single out his best season at Chiefs, Tshabalala once said: “On a personal level I would say the 2008/2009 season when we won the MTN8. I won all the Kaizer Chiefs awards at the end of the season, including the Player of the Season, Players’ Player of the Season, Goal of the Season, Top Goalscorer of the Season, the Amakhosi Readers’ Choice of the Season and the Amakhosi Online Player of the Season.”
About his best goal as a Glamour Boy, Shabba commented: “It’s difficult to single out one. However, for me, the most important was my first goal. That came in the 2007 Telkom Knockout quarterfinal against SuperSport United (28/10/2007) when I scored the match-winner (Chiefs won 1-0). It helped us go to the semis. We actually went on to win the Telkom Knockout that season.”
He was selected three times as the Kaizer Chiefs Player of the Season: 2008/2009, 2011/2012 and 2016/2017.
Tshabalala was furthermore selected as the 2010 SAFA Footballer of the Year and has played 89 times for the South African national team, including 70 starts and 19 subs. He has netted 12 times for Bafana Bafana with the most famous being the goal against Mexico in the opening match of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
About his move to Erzurumspor, he comments: “I always wanted to play overseas, in particular in Europe and I have never been shy to talk about that. It should have happened a long time ago, but I think that it’s God’s time. I am grateful that God is giving me this huge opportunity to showcase my talent in Europe.”
Tshabalala gets emotional when he talks about leaving the Glamour Boys. “Kaizer Chiefs means a lot to me. Chiefs Village will always be my home and the club will be forever in my heart. It’s my dream to play my last game as a professional player for Kaizer Chiefs before my retirement.
“I also want to thank the supporters for their Love & Peace. It has been a great ride for almost 12 years. There have been highs, there have been lows – however, I have enjoyed every minute of it.”
Kaizer Chiefs Chairman Kaizer Motaung commented on Tshabalala’s departure. “We wish Shabba only the best for this future endeavours. Once a Khosi, always a Khosi – he will always be one of us, no matter where he is.”
The Kaizer Chiefs family would like to thank Shabba for his immense contribution to the success of club over an illustrious career spanning over 11 years as one of the Phefeni Glamour Boys. Keep shining and spread the spirit of Love & Peace to the world, Shabba!