JOHANNESBURG - The reason for Thamsanqa Gabuza’s absence in Orlando Pirates’ 18-man squad that hosted Cape Town City on Tuesday at FNB Stadium is something that the club would like to keep a secret.
The Buccaneers’ coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic revealed that after the club’s 1-0 win over the Citizens. That victory saw Pirates shoot to the summit of the Absa Premiership standings after five matches.
But Gabuza’s absence didn’t go unnoticed, especially since he had started every game for the club this season, playing 90 minutes in their last three matches. Gabuza has been a central figure in the Sea Robbers’ attack after the departure of Tendai Ndoro.
“There are some things that need to be kept in the team, that we don’t want to put out in public,” Sredojevic said. “But we want to tell you that he has been out of the 18 for reasons known by us and we are not ready to reveal that. We shall see whether he will be available for the game against Wits.”
Pirates’ media officer Thandi Merafe came to the coach’s defence when pressed further to elaborate on the Gabuza matter.
“He has been out of the team because of tactical reasons,” the Serbian said, back-tracking from his initial statement. “Let us say so. I am finishing there.”
It remains to be seen whether those “tactical reasons” will keep Gabuza out of action in the Buccaneers’ short-trip to Milpark to take on Bidvest Wits at Bidvest Stadium on Saturday.
If Gabuza is still out in the cold, young striker Lyle Foster could play a more starring role. The 17-year-old, who was promoted from the Buccaneers’ development, has been gradually brought into the first team mix.
“I have told him, son, if things are bad (they should blame) everything on me. If things are good, take all the credit. Just don’t let yourself down. There is no difference between this (playing first team football at Pirates) and destroying England recently (with the national Under-20 team),” Sredojevic said.
“I told him to enjoy his game. There is no stress or pressure. He has really given us good service. I really wish that he develops the way we want him to develop. It is easy to cry that there are no strikers (but we have to develop them for them to be there).”