Shabba proves age is just a number

Siphiwe Tshabalala (Gallo Images)
Siphiwe Tshabalala (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - It is common for South African soccer players to come back from overseas once they are older than 30, but 33-year-old Siphiwe Tshabalala has bucked that trend.

The midfielder, who turns 34 later this month, may change how older guys see themselves as professional players.

Tshabalala joined Erzurumspor of Turkey on a two-year deal with an option to renew for another year. The team plays in the Turkish Süper Lig.

Twitter reacts to Tshabalala's shock Chiefs exit

After the 2010 World Cup, when he was valued more and eight years younger, the local football fraternity hoped he would make a move overseas, but that did not happen. According to the Transfermarkt website, which publishes players' worth, Tshabalala was worth £1.08 million (R20 million) then and a mere £630 000 now.

A guy at Shabba's age could have easily joined a smaller team with less of a following, ended up in the National First Division or called it quits.

His former team-mate Tsepo Masilela (33) and former Orlando Pirates player Ayanda Gcaba (32) are examples of players who retired from the Premier Soccer League and pursued smaller gigs.

Tshabalala's move should act as an inspiration for the older horses such as Hlompho Kekana (33), Itumeleng Khune (31), Thabo Matlaba (30) and Oupa Manyisa (30), who may still crack the ever elusive overseas market.

The former Amakhosi winger previously trialled at English Football League Championship's Nottingham Forest in January 2011, but the team's failure to win promotion via play-offs and the sacking of manager Billy Davies contributed to the failure of the deal.

The Bafana Bafana player has proven that you can still achieve what others see as impossible, even in the final stages of your career.

WATCH: Tshabalala receives rousing welcome at airport from Turkey fans

After joining the Glamour Boys, Tshabalala helped them to all four trophies available in South Africa - the MTN8, Telkom Knockout, Nedbank Cup and Absa Premiership cup.

Tshabalala played a key role at Kaizer Chiefs, making 372 appearances for the club after joining the team from Free State Stars in 2007.

Does Tshabalala's overseas move give other veterans a chance to consider going international?

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