Orlando Pirates striker Thamsanqa Gabuza has promised to score goals for the team in the new season.
The 30-year-old marksman struggled for form last season as scored only four goals in 20 Premier Soccer League (PSL) matches and lost his place in the starting line-up to fellow forwards Justin Shonga and Augustine Mulenga in the second half of the campaign.
However, Gabuza appears to have regained his scoring form in pre-season having scored in Pirates' friendly games against both Forest Rangers and Ndola Select in Zambia.
“When you play for a big team like Orlando Pirates‚ you must deliver and that is what I want to do in the coming season‚” Gabuza was quoted by TimesLive at the club’s awards function in Johannesburg on Thursday night.
“If you don’t deliver‚ there will always be things said about you. I am a Pirates player‚ I am in the coach’s plans for next season, and the only thing I can say is that more goals are coming from me next season," he continued.
The former Lamontville Golden Arrows forward has a love-hate relationship with Pirates supporters, and he was heavily criticized last season as he failed to convert easy goal-scoring opportunities.
“Fans of big clubs are not patient and I understand where the Pirates fans are coming from. I am playing for a big team and I know that as a striker I must deliver goals. I have been through a good pre-season‚ I am confident‚ I am determined to work more than last season, and like I said‚ goals will come this season," Gabuza added.
“Last season I did not play much and during the off-season I did a lot of introspection where I asked myself what I want to achieve as a striker and footballer," he explained.
The lanky forward stated that he is heading into the new season an improved player having done some individual training to work on his finishing.
“I didn’t just sit there, but I had individual training to work on my finishing. It was not going to be good to sit at home and do nothing while I have some issues that need to be improved," Gabuza indicated.
“If you look at Pirates last season‚ most of the players who scored were midfielders‚ but I want to push so that I can improve myself. I am still the club’s leading goalscorer in Africa and I want to continue where I left off this season on the continent. I am more confident because I have been doing well at training and during friendly matches where I worked hard with the coaches on my finishing," he said.
“Last season I was not good in front of goal because I missed too many chances, but I am working on fixing those mistakes. I am good to go and really looking forward to the start of the season‚ and to contributing to the team," he stressed.
“I speak a lot with my teammates and they encourage me to be calm when I find myself in good positions‚ because last season I only managed to score four goals. Some of the players stay with me after training to practice finishing," Gabuza concluded.