No, the Kaizer Chiefs midfield maestro was not in agreement with the generally held notion that he wouldn’t have captured the gong had the award been judged by a professional panel.
Instead the contest was put out to a popularity vote and the Amakhosi skipper’s strike against SuperSport United beat the incredible overhead kick, injury-time, equalising goal scored by Baroka FC goalkeeper Oscarine Masuleke that became a trending topic the world over.
Tshabalala though was not about to get entangled in the arguments about the merit of his success and instead enjoyed his moment in the limelight, albeit with some reservation.
“I might have had a great season as an individual but as a team we didn’t do well,” he lamented.
With Chiefs enduring yet another barren season, Tshabalala was understandably not able to fully celebrate the numerous personal milestones.
The goal of the season award was but the cherry on top of other achievements, among which was him scoring his 50th goal in the Amakhosi jersey. Added to that was his reaching the 300 game mark as Chiefs player, nine years after joining the club.
That goal, a sweet lob from the edge of the box after he deftly controlled a pass, spotted the keeper off his line and sent the ball delicately into the net, was in his 300th match for Chiefs.
He actually had two goals in the final three nominated for the award.
“I'm grateful that two of my goals were recognised. I want to thank everyone who voted for me. The goal that won, I scored it on my wife’s birthday. Even before the game I wrote a message on my wrist, wishing her well. I also dedicate the award to her.”
Going into his tenth season at the club, Tshabalala promised that he and his teammates will make their supporters happy.
“They still supported us and this really shows the love and the support they have for the team; only way to make them happy is to win the trophies.”
He refuted the recent murmurs that some of the club’s senior players were not supportive of coach Steve Komphela.
“That’s not true,” he said “We’ve been supporting the coach ever since day one. He is part of us. When he wins, we win and when he loses we all lose. There is a great bond between us and we will definitely show it in the coming seasons with great results and not through talking.”