Cape Town – Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala has played down talk that he's entering the twilight of his career and says he still has plenty to give.
'Shabba', who turns 34 next month and is in his 11th year at Chiefs, made his PSL debut back in 2004 for Free State Stars.
There has been talk, mainly in the media, that the Amakhosi veteran may be more used more sparingly in the season ahead.
But considering that Tshabalala remains in top physical shape and played all 30 league games for the Glamour Boys last season, even forcing his way back into the national team after a four-year absence, such talk appears unfair and premature.
The player himself believes he still has plenty to offer and says that even if he does not enjoy as much game-time as usual, he'll continue to be a positive and energising influence on the team.
"Mentally, I'm okay and strong. Physically, I'm okay. I take care of myself, you know, and I rest a lot," he told KickOff website.
"I'll always be there. Whenever the coach wants me, I'll play. If he feels, 'you know what, let me rest you.' I'll still respect that.
"But my energy will always be there," he continued, "even if I don't play. I'll still give good energy to the team. I think I played all the games last season and, personally for me, that was also an achievement. I was happy that I was injury free."
Shabba, whose contract runs for another two seasons, has promised he'll continue to give his all and will never take his role at Chiefs for granted.
"I make sure that I work hard and that I don't have that 'I know I'm going to play on Saturday' attitude. I always push myself, and we'll see how it goes. It's one game at a time, but so far so good. I'm happy."