Tshabalala recently sat down with broadcaster and fellow Chiefs alumnus, Brian Mathe, in the first episode of Nedbank Reality Football – “a series of tell-all conversations delving into the lives, defining moments and even money choices of some of South Africa’s greatest-ever footballers“.
Tshabalala touches on the challenges of dealing with finances and making the correct choices around money, especially at the start of his career.
The playmaker broke through on the local football scene at Free State Stars from 2004 to 2007, before making a famous move to Chiefs.
However, without going into much detail, he mentioned how he was once “scammed”.
“When I signed with Chiefs, I didn’t care about money, now the dream was becoming a reality. I’ve signed… money is a bonus, decent money and I can take care of myself, my family, and still save … My parents didn’t have a house, so I had to make sure they could have their own place to call home. I tried Free State with my first sign-on fee, but I then got scammed.”
Tshabalala touched on various subjects in a wide-ranging discussion
In discussing how he was eventually able to manage his money successfully throughout his career, Tshabalala explained that having a mentor is key.
“You need someone that you respect to such an extent that you are scared to make mistakes and scared to spend – because they will ask you what you did with that money. So you need that person who will always give you a push. We (as footballers) are in an environment where we are exposed to so many things, there’s lots of temptation. So you can imagine that if you have money, there’s a lot that you can do wrong, instead of thinking: investment,” he said.
When prompted on identifying key mentors in his career, he identified former manager, Steve Kompela.
“For me, Steve is not just a football coach – he’s a life coach, a reflection to one’s self and he also brings in that brother figure element. His journey is authentic and relatable. Apart from that, the man is intelligent, you learn a lot from Steve and when he speaks you need to pay attention. The agenda may seem like its football, but you get more than that – you get advice on life in general. So, he’s someone that I respect and enjoy talking to, because I know the wisdom that I get from him”