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Irvin Khoza issues warning around player abuse

Misfiring striker Thamsanqa Gabuza has been a victim of the boo boys Frikkie Kapp/BackpagePix

Orlando Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza has leapt to the defence of underfire striker Thamsanqa Gabuza, and warned that constant abuse of players could have a detrimental effect on their personal lives.

Gabuza made headlines this week when he walked off the pitch against Black Leopards, having put in the cross that led to Pirates' opening goal.

He eventually returned, but was shown a second yellow -- the first for taking off his shirt and throwing it at the fans -- for not getting the referee's permission to leave the field.

His actions came amid consistent criticism from supporters, both at the games and on social media. It's criticism that Khoza feels is massively undeserved.

"Gabuza is a special player. He is a team player. He makes the team laugh with his jokes. Gabuza is hardworking and he loves the club. There's something special about the boy and that's why I'm on his side," Khoza was quoted by IOL.

"We don't condone his behaviour. As a role model he should be able to deal with criticism positively. Your temperament must be able to overcome all the challenges. You must concentrate on the game.

"Sometimes you need to be patient. If I wasn't patient I wouldn't be in football still but I'm still in football. His attitude was unprofessional. It was an act of misconduct and it really tarnished the reputation and the image of the club. But he is very remorseful for his actions. Gabuza is a very humble person. He told me he was wrong but he's doing his best for the club."

Khoza added: "I'm waiting for the report of the match commissioner. We also have to get the report of the psychologist because his attitude wasn't normal. Sometimes taking quick decisions is not a solution. We all make mistakes.

"We have two weeks to deal with this matter. We have to make adjustments to find the solution. We have to see whether the solution is the psychologist or the striker's coach.

"It is very important to understand that for striker to score goals it also depends on your temperament, mixed emotions, anxiety and the energy. That can be influenced by your own supporters. There's a difference between jeering and cheering. If people jeer at you, you end up losing your steps. You become destabilised. You end up losing your cool.

"I understand that people have different expectations. Gabuza crossed the ball on Tuesday and we scored. It was the goal that contributed significantly in us winning the game. Our society is full of anger. We want to do things in a tone of violence.

"That's can't be right. Gabuza will leave football one day and become a serial killer because he feels rejected by the people that he loves and he thought they loved him. We will start complaining and says he is cursed. It starts with small things like these."