SuperSport United have a tradition of singing in the dressing-room after every victory and after winning the MTN8 following a 1-0 victory over Highlands Park at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday night, Matsatsantsa A Pitori were expected to sing louder than they have at any other time this season.
That was the case only until Thamsanqa Gabuza told his team-mates that his son passed away on Monday last week and the funeral was on Thursday – he did not attend the burial of his late offspring because he did not want to spoil the mood in the build-up to the final.
When the news broke, the chorus leaders lost their tune and everyone was overwhelmed by emotion.
SuperSport’s players painted a picture of how sombre the mood was in the dressing room.
“He just got up and told all of us and it dampened the mood but luckily we are a family and we all got behind him.
“There is not much we can do but it just shows what a good team player he is and how much character he has,” said match-winner Bradley Grobler.
“Everyone was shocked and there are not many people who could do what he did, I don’t know if I could do that. Massive credit to him, I am just happy for him, he has been through a tough time and he has come to us and he has found a family,” he added.
Matsatsantsa goalkeeper Ronwen Williams described Gabuza’s actions as one that defines his loyalty to the badge.
“For him to do that for the team shows that he puts the team first and it shows he has got balls. After a big loss like that, it takes a real man to do that and I am happy that he got Man-of-the-Match.
“We were all surprised and it killed the whole mood. We sing after a victory but today was not the same because of the news,” said Williams.
Club captain Dean Furman, meanwhile, commended the 32-year-old’s Man-of-the-Match performance despite the sad circumstances.
“It was incredibly emotional and no one expected it. For us as team-mates and his brothers and friends, we just have to remain behind him and support him and his family. For him to do what he did without telling anyone is incredible.
“It was one of those moments where the hair is raised from the back of the neck. It was very emotional and I have huge respect for what he did.”