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Tshegofatso Mabasa

Thu 17 Oct by Nick Said

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Tshegofatso Mabasa did not score an Absa Premiership goal in his first four seasons with Bloemfontein Celtic but burst onto the scene in the last campaign and has continued that form with new club Orlando Pirates.The 23-year-old joined Celtic from lower league side Brazil FC, having also previously turned out for Young Tigers, as well as fabled rugby school Grey College, and made his debut against AmaZulu in the Telkom Knockout in October 2014.His first two goals would also come in the competition more than three years later, but the floodgates were not opened until he scored a maiden league goal against Chippa United on the opening day of the 2018/19 season, albeit via the penalty-spot.He made 26 appearances for Celtic before breaking that duck but would score 10 goals in all competitions last season, winning him a move to Pirates.And with four goals in his previous three games for The Buccaneers, it looks as though he has made an easy transition to Gauteng and the step-up to one of the country’s biggest clubs.He will get the chance to continue that tomorrow in his favourite competition, the Telkom Knockout, when Pirates host Stellenbosch FC at the Orlando Stadium.Mabasa was scouted for Celtic by current Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp and former Bafana Bafana striker Benni McCarthy has already likened the forward to himself, high praise indeed.He claims McCarthy was a role-model growing up, along with Brazilian forward Ronaldo, and that he was also a Pirates supporter as a boy, now playing for the club he adored.But he also says he dreamed of playing cricket as a youngster, with football very much secondary on the sporting front, until it became clear that he had more ability in the one than the other.“He’s extremely intelligent‚ understands tactics and understands the game but at the same time is so humble and coachable, and listens to everything that you ask of him," Pirates coach Rhulani Mokwena said.“But over and above that‚ I think the things that media and supporters don’t see‚ is what a great human being the boy is.“What more do you say as coach when you’ve got hardworking‚ honest players?”