5/28/2024 12:00:00 AM

Mabasa sets sights on second Golden Boot trophy

PIC: Tshegofatso Mabasa

Tshegofatso Mabasa claimed the Golden Boot in the DStv Premiership this season and now will be aiming to do the same in the Nedbank Cup in Saturday’s showpiece final against Mamelodi Sundowns at the Mbombela Stadium (kick-off 15h00).
He missed out on playing in the final last year while on loan at Sekhukhune United from Pirates, and was therefore unable to feature against his parent club, having to sit on the sidelines as The Buccaneers won 2-1 at Loftus Stadium.  
He is therefore waiting for his first Nedbank Cup winners medal, having only tasked victory in a knockout competition once before when he lifted the MTN8 with Pirates in 2020, beating his old club Bloemfontein Celtic in the final.
The striker is one of 10 players currently on three goals in this year’s Nedbank Cup, but with his scoring boots firmly on, he will be among the favourites to add to his tally in the decider.
SuperSport United youngster Shandre Campbell, and Stellenbosch FC’s Andre de Jong, Anicet Oura and Devin Titus, all cannot add to their tallies this campaign, so his biggest competition may be from teammates.
Pirates defender Tapelo Xoki has been ruled out of the final through injury, but Kabelo Dlamini and Patrick Maswanganyi will also be eyeing the top scorer prize.
As will the Sundowns duo of Thembinkosi Lorch and Gaston Sirino.
It has been a remarkable season for Mabasa, who started it on loan at Moroka Swallows, where he scored six goals, before a return to Pirates to net 13 in the second half of the campaign, including three in the Nedbank Cup. 

“I've always been a person who believes in myself,” Mabasa told reporters on Tuesday. “I feel like the club gave me the right platform. With the amount of chances we create it was just a matter of time.

“I believe in my ability and I want to score goals and that's exactly what I am doing.”
Mabasa also feels the support of coach Jose Riveiro, who has embraced the targetman forward since his return to the club in January, despite initially ending him on loan this month. 

“He's a coach who believes in his players. As long as you put in hard work at training, he continues to give you the confidence,” Mabasa said.

“As long as you find a coach who believes in your ability and gives you that confidence from training, then you're bound to perform.

“That's exactly what happened with me and everything has been going well for me so far.”
Riveiro has been equally full of praise for his striker ahead of the final.

“Mabasa means much more than goals, I’ve said this several times, he had a really good impact in the group, contribution in every moment of the games,” the Spanish coach said.

“[He helped] in defending, attacking, set-pieces, he was a very important player for us in the second part of the season, always available for selection, and he’s getting the rewards of the hard work he was putting in the other half of the season at Swallows.

“So overall, very good season for him and hopefully he can replicate that type of performances in the future for us here at Pirates.”

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