Johannesburg – Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala’s inclusion in the Bafana Bafana squad that will play Senegal on Friday should not come as surprise to the football fraternity.
Shabba has been a stand-out player for Amakhosi for the past two seasons and, despite being 33, has not shown any signs of slowing down.
He was last with the senior national team back in 2014 and will make his 89th appearance for the country if he is fielded.
Go for goal
The Chiefs stalwart brings vast international experience to the set-up. Not only that, his influence could also work wonders for the team.
No Chiefs player has had more influence than Tshabalala, leading all players in scoring and creativity by a wide margin from last season.
He was Amakhosi’s top scorer last season with eight goals.
But it is not just goals that he brings – it is assists too, and that is exactly what is needed in Bafana.
He is also versatile. Although he is left-footed, he can operate on both sides of the field, which allows him to cut inside and go for a goal when playing on the right.
In short, he will give Stuart Baxter great attacking options.
Most influential player
The midfielder has also proved that he has the ability to influence games with his speed, trickery and unselfishness.
When he announced the squad, Baxter said: “I think Shabba at the moment is arguably the most influential player in the league.
“I think he can give you a set-play; he can find that pass; he can whip one in from 30m and, apart from all of that, his experience in the dressing room is invaluable".