Tshabalala joins Kaizer Chiefs
Bafana Bafana and Free State Stars midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala has signed a two-and-a-half year contract with Soweto giants, Kaizer Chiefs.
'Amakhosi' have reportedly staved off bids from the likes of Mamelodi Sundowns, Orlando Pirates and BidVest Wits to sign the highly-talented attacking midfielder, who comes highly-recommended, having already been tipped as a key man for Bafana Bafana ahead of the 2010 World Cup.
Of course, 22-year-old Tshabalala has already had a taste of representing his country, having featured in the Bafana squad at last year's African Cup of Nations in Egypt.
For Tshabalala, however, signing for Chiefs has seen him go full-circle, as he was once part of the Kaizer Chiefs youth system.
"I worked hard at Stars over the past couple of seasons and I am delighted that Chiefs showed an interest in me, and it is now up to me to demonstrate that I can play for the best-loved team in the country," he told the official Chiefs website.
He added: "I still cannot believe all this is happening, everything has happened so fast, I need to take a step back and look at everything from a distance.
"After that it would probably dawn upon me that I have signed for Chiefs and the hard work begins for me. Chiefs have a strong team and as the new kid it is always going to need extra effort from me if I want to play regularly during my stay here."
Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp said of his new player: "We cannot deny the fact that Siphiwe is both a player of high quality and class and he is a player who will be apart of our mid-term plans.
"It was not a plan of ours to buy any new players during the transfer window, Siphiwe was available and we felt acquiring him would go along way towards strengthening our squad looking ahead to later this season and perhaps going into the next."
Chiefs team manager Bobby Motaung could not hide his delight at the club's newest signing.
"It took us a long time to successfully negotiate the deal with Free State Stars; I am glad that everything has worked out in our favour.
"Siphiwe was a target of the coach for quite some time and I am sure he will add a lot of value to our team," said Motaung.
Siphiwe Tshabalala profile:
Name: Siphiwe Tshabalala
Date of birth: 25th September 1984
Place of birth: Soweto, Gauteng, South Africa
Previous teams: Kaizer Chiefs Juniors, Alexandra United, Free State Stars