Siphiwe Tshabalala has opened up about his nightmare stint in Turkey, a club he joined after more than a decade playing for Kaizer Chiefs.
He says the beginning was a fairytale: “I was well received in Turkey, supporters at the airport, chanting and taking picture – they even accompanied me to the training ground in a convoy. It was a happy moment for me,” the 35-year-old told the SA Football Journalists’ Association about his spell at BB Erzurumspor.
Tshabalala only got to 19 appearances in the Turkish Super Lig, mostly coming off the bench in the one season that he spent there.
“In the final days, there was a new coach and he changed everything, he liked my style of play and he said I would help the team,” recalls ‘Shabba’, adding, “my name was on the team sheet during the week, when the day of the game came, I was on the bench. That was a shock.”
He said his place in the team was even taken by a player with a broken hand at one point, suggesting that perhaps he wasn’t valued.
“My replacement broke his hand and they said he would not be in the team for a while, but he ended up playing. I came to a situation where I said, if I play its okay, if not that’s still okay. When I did get to play, it was too late.”
Jazzman Mahlakgane, who is Tshabalala’s long time agent, told the Siya crew in August last year that Erzurumspor wanted to “cut his salary in half”.
“After that they called my agent and said they wanted me back, but we must renegotiate because we were now in the lower division (the club was relegated),” Shabba explained.
“I was willing to go back and play, but when I arrived there things were now worse. The negotiations went south. It was difficult to negotiate. You can go three months without getting a salary. You can’t leave your own comfort, your country and go work somewhere else and not get paid and you don’t get to play. It was a situation that built me mentally, I learnt from that situation and I decided to rather terminate. That’s how I left.”
Story by @superjourno
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