The Bafana Bafana legend was unveiled by Usuthu on Monday together with nine other players
New AmaZulu signing Siphiwe Tshabalala has allayed doubts that his 36-year-old legs can still carry him on the football pitch after spending more than a year not playing competitive football.
The veteran former Kaizer Chiefs man arrives at Usuthu together with nine other new signings, including the ex-Orlando Pirates duo of Luvuyo Memela and Augustine Mulenga, as well as Limbikani Mzava and another ex-Chiefs forward Siphelele Mthembu.
Tshabalala has been clubless since his return to South Africa from a stint at Turkish side BB Erzurumspor, whom he last played for in May 2019, but provided assurances that he is in good shape.
“I have been working very hard, obviously doing virtual training. I trained a lot just to make sure that I am in good physical condition,” Tshabalala told the media.
“Not yet [thinking of retiring as a player after a year not playing], I didn’t even sleep my mind. I had quite a number of offers mostly from abroad. For me it was to make a decision and I always say that things happen for a reason. I’m happy with the decision that I took.
“I am here because I want to be here and not because I have to be here. I am coming to a team that has been struggling in the league I think for six or seven seasons in terms of always fighting against relegation.
“So it’s a challenge for me and I am up to the challenge as well. I want to work, I want to do my best and help the team as well so I’m looking forward to this challenge.
“[I will keep on playing] as long as I am still happy on the field. As long as I still wake up in the morning with a smile then I will keep going. The day I wake up with back pains and a sad face that’s when I will stop.
“I’m still hungry. As long as I am still on the field, I won’t lose the hunger in me. I won’t lose the child in me, I will always challenge myself.”
With AmaZulu announcing 10 new signings, including some big-name players, it was a development interpreted as a statement of intent ahead of the new season.
Tshabalala feels that ending their Premier Soccer League campaign in the top four is a possibility.
“I wouldn’t say it’s impossible. I don’t want to use the word impossible. It is difficult but it can be achieved,” said Tshabalala.
“I just got here but I can’t wait to meet the rest of the team to start working with them. Obviously the first week we play against Pirates and then three days later there is another game so it’s going to be a tough season.
“But I definitely think that the guys are up to it. That’s how we strive as top players to compete against the est and to be tested.”