Orlando Pirates star Tshegofatso Mabasa chasing SA PSL Golden Boot record

Tshegofatso Mabasa of Orlando Pirates celebrates his second goal against Chippa United. Photo: BackpagePix

Tshegofatso Mabasa of Orlando Pirates celebrates his second goal against Chippa United. Photo: BackpagePix

Published May 10, 2024



Tshegofatso Mabasa’s return from his loan spell with Moroka Swallows has proven to be beneficial to Orlando Pirates, and he is reaping the fruits of his time away from home.

Only six goals stand between him and equalling a long-standing Golden Boot record by a South African, 21, set by Pollen Ndlanya for Kaizer Chiefs in the 1998/99 season.

A first-half Mabasa brace in a dominant display by the home side took his tally for the season to 15 goals as Pirates beat Chippa United 2-0 on Wednesday, their second win in a row over the Eastern Cape side after eliminating them from the Nedbank Cup last Saturday.

Mabasa eased one goal clear of Iqraam Rayners and within one of equalling Bradley Grobler’s 16-goal campaign in the 2020/21 season.

Ndlanya tops the list of South Africans who have won the Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot award, which has been in existence since the formation of the Premier Soccer League in 1996.

He scored 21 goals for the Amakhosi in the 1998/99 league season, while Siyabonga Nomvethe grabbed 20 in the 2011/12 season for Moroka Swallows.

There are a few foreign marksmen who have scored more than Ndlanya and Nomvethe – Zambian Collins Mbesuma (25 for Chiefs in 2004/05), Namibian Peter Shalulile (23 for Mamelodi Sundowns in 2021/22) and Zimbabwean Wilfred Mugeyi (22 for Bush Bucks in 1996/97).

With three matches remaining, Stellenbosch FC and Pirates are not only vying for second position, but both their strikers are within touching distance of possibly breaking the 20-goal barrier for the first time in 12 years.

— SuperSport Football ⚽️ (@SSFootball) May 9, 2024

A Gordon Igesund-led Moroka Swallows missed out on the PSL title by the barest of margins in the 2011/12 season as they fell short by two points to Pirates, who were coached by Augusto Palacios, who had replaced Julio Cesar Leal late in the campaign.

The Dube Birds’ rise to the top was spearheaded by hitman “Bhele” Nomvethe, who scored a blistering 20 goals in the league.

Much like Nomvethe, Mabasa’s consistency in front of goal has been responsible for the Buccaneers’ late charge towards the top – one that came a few games late, with Mamelodi Sundowns having shut the door and clinched their seventh title in a row.

Mabasa’s hunger and eagerness to give himself goalscoring opportunities, including taking responsibility for penalties, has stood out so far since his return to Pirates.

“We’ve been practising our penalties. Even in the Royal AM game, Tito (Patrick Maswanganyi) is the one that took it. So, it’s not really on my mind (the Golden Boot) – the first thing is for the team to get all three points, and that is exactly what we did,” Mabasa said after the Chippa encounter.

“If it happens, it happens, it will be by the grace of God, and I will be thankful for that – but the three points were important.

“It would mean a lot for me to win because as a striker, that’s what you look to do – you look to score goals, and if they are coming the way they are right now, I’m very glad and happy.

“If it happens, like I said, it will be by the grace of God, and I’ll be thankful for that.”