Endless headache for Shakes

2015-07-02 06:00

NOWADAYS being the head coach of Bafana Bafana is proving to be a frustrating profession as one wonders how Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba’s bosses at Safa expect him to deliver.

Mashaba must be one of the most unhappy men on Earth and he must be also thinking that the soccer gods are against him.

Of all the players initially called up by the national coach to the camp, he is only left with 17 and recent withdrawals added more woes to his preparations.

Bafana Bafana will play their second­ leg of the preliminary round 2016 Champions of African Nations (Chan).

The latest to pull out are the Orlando­ Pirates duo, Thabo Matlaba and Ntsikelelo Nyauza and Marc Van Heerden of AmaZulu.

Vuyisile Wana (Bloemfontein-Celtic bound) was forced to leave because of a knee injury and has been replaced by Thabo Mnyamana from University of Pretoria.

“I agree, it’s not looking simple or good.

“I feel I am working with skeleton staff for now. I am also trying to keep my head up and concentrate on positive things,” said Mashaba.

Mashaba still feels that it is not the end of the world and a strong mentality or positive thinking will do the trick.

The South African senior men’s team will leave for Mauritius today and will meet Mauritius at Stade Anjalay on Sunday (1pm SA time).

The only plus at this stage is that Bafana Bafana won 3-0 against the island country recently in a game at Dobsonville Stadium.

Meanwhile KickOff.com reports that Mashaba is wary of a resurgent Mauritian outfit when his team travels to the island nation for their return-leg Chan qualifier on Sunday.

Although Bafana stormed to a 3-0 victory over their 176th-ranked opponents 10 days ago, Mashaba feels Mauritius will come out with guns blazing in their backyard.

“Let me tell you if you have watched those Mauritians, they were happy with that [3-0] loss because they have this thing in mind that there is a chance of coming back - scoring three goals and going ahead,” says Mashaba.

The 64-year-old tactician is adamant his troops will not fall into the trap of complacency and says he will work on the players’ psyche during this week of training.

“We are not going to take things lightly. People will talk of complacency - those are psychological things that you can’t deal with on [one] evening, and say players will not [fall into that trap],” he explains.

“But we will guard against that - our training sessions will tell us where our boys are [in terms of their psyche].”

Regarding the seriousness of the task ahead, Mashaba says they will try to work on their missed chances from the first leg at home, with the striking department his main focus.

“[We cannot] allow yesterday to take more energy for tomorrow. Those chances we missed are finished now, we have got to look forward.

“If you look at our list [of strikers], most of the time we have more than the required number, because that’s the area we try to address.” – KickOff.com

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