Veteran Kaizer Chiefs winger Siphiwe Tshabalala vows to help Bafana beat Senegal

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Shabba is expected to play an influential role on and off the pitch in Bafana Bafana's upcoming two matches against the Teranga Lions

Having returned to the national team setup after nearly four years, Kaizer Chiefs winger Siphiwe Tshabalala is ready to help Bafana Bafana qualify for the 2018 Fifa World Cup finals in Russia

Shabba as he is affectionately known, understands that beating Senegal over two legs isn't only important to Bafana Bafana, but to the country at large, even with the challenges that the team is facing. 

A few key players, including Itumeleng Khune and Thulani Hlatshwayo, have been battling with injuries over the past few days, while Thulani Serero decided to pull of the squad after demanding a guaranteed spot in Stuart Baxter's starting line-up for the encounter on Friday. 

Hlompho Kekana was excused following the passing away of his mother-in-law, while Bongani Zungu and Andile Jali are both suspended for the first leg in the Limpopo province. 

Shabba though, knows that he has a bigger role to play as the most experienced player in the squad with 88 Bafana caps, especially in the build up to the encounter on Friday.

However, he admits that he hasn't spoken to Baxter about his role on the pitch.     

"I haven’t yet spoken to the coach about my role, but I know the importance of the game. It’s not just important to Bafana, but the rest of the country. We need to make sure we do well at home first and then a few days later we do well in Dakar and qualify for the World Cup," Tshabalala told the media. 

"For me, it is business as usual. I will do my best both on and off the field to help the team. I will also advise and lead through performance. I will help the best way I can," he said. 

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“There are always challenges. We are professionals and we need to deal with them. Some players are not 100 percent and others are not here yet, but it is something we have to understand and be professional about. There’s still a job that needs to be done on Friday,” added Shabba.

The 33-year-old admitted that it was an honour for him to be back in the Bafana fold after nearly four years, but said he never stopped believing that he would one day return to the national team given the amount of hard work he put in at club level.  

“It’s an honour for me to represent my country even though I was absent for nearly four years. I have never shut this door. I never stopped working hard or closed that chapter. Now that I am here I must enjoy football,” he concluded. 

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