Shakes takes on Bafana posers

2014-07-27 15:00

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Yesterday’s anointment of Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba as the new Bafana Bafana coach was expected, but his ascent to the hot?seat has created more questions.

Just like the 70s Johnny Nash ditty There Are More Questions Than Answers, Mashaba’s appointment is not an answer to all problems facing South African football.

In fact, it raises quite a few more problems.

Some of these are:

» What happens to the Under-20 national team now that he is on the verge of qualifying them for the African Under-20 Championships?

» Who will take over as this squad’s new coach?

» Can Mashaba take Bafana to the required level – qualify the national team for top tournaments and even guide them to victory?

These questions will only be answered by the passage of time. Mashaba’s first business after relinquishing the Under-20 team will be to guide Bafana in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

His first assignment will be in Sudan on September?5, followed by a home encounter against African champions Nigeria a week later.

The coach is no newcomer to the hot seat, having occupied it on two previous occasions.

It is also worth noting that in his last stint, Mashaba easily qualified the team for the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations before parting ways with the SA Football Association (Safa), which resulted in him not leading them to the tournament.

He has a 63% win rate with the senior national squad.?But his appointment – viewed in some quarters as Safa bowing to public pressure – does not solve South Africa’s football problems.

In fact, it leaves Safa with a king-sized headache.

Having been under the cosh for a long time for neglecting development, as Under-20 coach, Mashaba was a vital cog in the Vision 2022 that puts emphasis on development.

He won the Zone V – which is Southern Africa’s region – Under-17 title. He went on to snatch the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations ­Under-20 title with almost that same group of players.

He is on the verge of qualifying them for the African Championships, where finishing in the top three will qualify them for the Under-20 World Cup.

Safa’s long-term goal was to have Mashaba do all of that and hopefully take that same group of players to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the 2016 Olympic Games as Under-23s and eventually qualify them as the South African senior squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Now with his elevation to the top job, does Safa have a suitable candidate to see the Under-20 project to its conclusion?

Will Mashaba be able to select young players for the task of qualifying for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, and will the nation be patient with him if he doesn’t qualify or doesn’t do well at the event?

Another question that needs to be addressed soon is that of the director of coaching.

Safa president Danny Jordaan might have foreseen some of these problems – yesterday, he pleaded with the media and the public by saying: “We ask for patience from the public and the media. Let us watch Shakes grow into this role.”

Speaking from Mali, where he is with the Under-20 team, the 63-year-old Mashaba said: “I am honoured with the gesture that Safa has bestowed upon me.”

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula endorsed Mashaba’s appointment, saying: “I am very pleased with Safa’s decision to appoint Mr Mashaba as coach. I am thrilled that they settled for a local coach from the list of candidates they had.”

Ephraim ‘shakes’ Mashaba Profile

Date of birth – August 6 1950

Age – 63

Place of birth – Soweto, South Africa

Current position – Bafana Bafana coach

Club career:

Youth career – Preston Brothers

Senior career – Orlando Pirates, Swaraj FC and Moroka Swallows

Coaching career:

1992 – Vaal Reef Stars

1998 – South Africa Under-20

1998-2002 – South Africa Under-23

2002-2004 – South Africa

2004 – Black Leopards

2008-2010 – Swaziland

2010 – South Africa Under-23

2012-2014 – South Africa Under-17

2014 – South Africa

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