Gabuza surprisingly threw his jersey at his own fans, before leaving the pitch during the Buccaneers’ 2-1 victory over Black Leopards in a PSL match at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Tuesday night.
The Ladysmith-born forward had missed several chances in front of goal with the two teams locked at 0-0, but his low cross was turned home by Leopards defender Thivhavhudzi Ndou to hand Pirates the lead in the 34th minute and he stormed off the pitch during his celebration.
“It was an unfortunate incident and it is easy for someone to jump into conclusions, and condemn the player,” Moeti told Goal.
Gabuza later returned pitch-side with his right thigh heavily strapped in the second half as Bucs officials claimed that the player picked up an injury in the making of the opening goal.
The Buccaneers had to play with 10 players for the entirety of the game after Gabuza was red carded after receiving two yellow cards – one for removing his jersey and the other for leaving the pitch without the match referee’s permission.
“I am not saying that I condone what he did by leaving the pitch during his celebration as a way of expressing his frustrations with the supporters,” he continued. Gabuza has had a love-hate relationship with Bucs supporters for years due to his tendency to miss chances in front of goal.
“He has been booed by the supporters of his club for a very long time. It finally got to him and he snapped,” the former Pirates captain added. “I think he felt that he was working hard for the team on the pitch yet his efforts were not appreciated by the supporters,” he explained.
The retired midfielder feels that it is time for the Pirates management to step in and offer Gabuza the support that he needs. “I believe that he has been crying out for help. The situation with the supporters created an unnecessary pressure on the player,” Moeti indicated.
“He needs help and support from the management, coaches and the club as a whole. He bottled things up and it led to him acting without thinking,” he said.
In August 1997, Philmon Masinga scored the goal which took South Africa to the 1998 Fifa World Cup finals, but the former Mamelodi Sundowns forward was booed by his own fans in the next game.
“This reminds me of Philmon Masinga when he was still playing for the national team. He wanted to quit playing for Bafana Bafana because his efforts on the field of play were not appreciated by the fans,” the former Bafana player added.
“Fortunately, Safa and the leaders in the football fraternity stepped in, and they offered him the support, and help he needed to handle and overcome the situation,” Moeti explained.
“The same thing should be done for Gabuza rather than condemn him for what he did,” he concluded.