Mashaba’s Bafana shake-up

2014-08-10 15:00

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Prepare for a new-look Bafana Bafana. Newly-appointed coach Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba has vowed to dismantle the existing team and rebuild it from scratch.

The coach revealed he has given the SA Football Association (Safa) a list of people he wants to work with, making it likely that members of former coach Gordon Igesund’s technical team will not to be spared.

“We will demolish everything in existence, but we need to have the base. Everybody qualifies, especially patriotic players, irrespective of where they come from,” Mashaba said.

He also revealed he was not abandoning the Under-20 (Amajita) project that was going so well.

The 64-year-old mentor said he will take the junior team to Yaounde, Cameroon, for their African Youth Championships qualifier before focusing on Bafana for their Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Sudan in Khartoum on September 5.

“It is not nice to start a project and break it in between, but we need strong junior national teams to build Bafana. I’ll see the Under-20 project right to the end and I will travel with the team to Cameroon for the first leg,” he said.

Mashaba added the plan was to qualify for the semifinals at the Under-20 Championships in Senegal in March to qualify as one of Africa’s representatives at the Fifa Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand next year.

“The second leg [against Cameroon on August 30] won’t be much of a problem because we would have appointed a new coach by then,” he said.

Mashaba has already guided Amajita to victory in the Cosafa Under-20 Championships.

The coach’s strong words about Bafana means no one – including captain Itumeleng Khune and his team-mates who represented the country at the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup, the 2010 World Cup, the 2013 Afcon and the African Nations Championship – is guaranteed a place in the team.

Bafana will return from Sudan to face African champions Nigeria in Cape Town on September 10. They are in a group that also features Rwanda.

Mashaba said he is not worried about the tough road ahead because Safa has assured him that his mandate is to build for the future.

He said his plans are aligned with Safa’s technical master plan and all the junior national team coaches will report to him.

This statement raises questions about the position of technical director Safa has yet to fill. Attempts to get clarity on the matter from Safa authorities yesterday were unsuccessful.

But Mashaba said: “I need a technical team that is familiar with the junior teams. We are building for the future and it starts at grass-roots level. My mandate is automatic because the pressure of winning is there.”

Outgoing Bafana assistant coach Serame Letsoaka – the last coach to have guided the Under-20s to a World Cup in 2009 – has been tipped to take over Amajita from Mashaba.

Letsoaka, a former Safa technical director, recently guided a South African side at the Under-19 International Football Tournament that ended in Durban yesterday.

Meanwhile, Safa president Danny Jordaan announced on Friday that the ABC Motsepe League (second division) will be a national league, with matches scheduled to be televised from next season.

The champions will receive a cash prize of R1?million, three times more than the National First Division overall champions receive.

This is thanks to the new R1?billion six-year broadcast deal Safa has signed with Siyaya TV.

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