Glory – at last

2016-11-09 06:00
Sidwell Guduka, Express sports editor.  Foto:

Sidwell Guduka, Express sports editor. Foto:

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THE South African football fraternity woke up basking in glory on Sunday morning after a son of the soil did us proud – extremely proud indeed.

The achievement would not necessarily be on the same scale as the exploits of the Bafana Bafana class of 1996, which won the continental championship or the qualifying for the World Cup, but Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba’s troops have surely restored the nation’s pride and unquestionable belief in the national team.

For the first time in as many years, Bafana Bafana have qualified for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations Tournament that will be staged in Equatorial Guinea.

They nogal did that with one qualifier match still to be played.

In the past South Africa could only qualify for the popular African football showpiece by virtue of being the hosts, but that is a thing of the past now thanks to Mashaba who has turned Bafana Bafana into a well-oiled machine since he was appointed as the head coach in July this year.

He took over from Gordon Igesund whose contract, which ended in August, was never rene- wed by the South African Football Association (Safa). Under the men torship of Mashaba, the Mighty Bafana Bafana have played five matches and they are yet to lose.

Mashaba, who was unceremo- niously dropped from the team in 2004 is the only coach to have led a South African team to the Olympics in 2000. Remember the exploits of the national u.23 side at the Sydney Olympics where we lowered the Brazilian flag?

That was the best South Africa u.23 side we have ever had. It comprised talented youngsters such as Quinton Fortune, Delron Buckley, Benni McCarthy, Siyabonga Nomvete and Steve Lekoelea.

Back to Mashaba: He has proven without a shadow of a doubt that he is the right man to take Bafana Bafana to dizzying heights.

The former Swaziland senior men’s national team coach had a successful stint with Bafana Bafana in the past whereby he won the Cosafa tournament in 2003. He also qualified the team for the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations Tournament in Tunisia. His record with Bafana is glowing.

Mashaba’s success with the national team can be attributed to the fact that he respects his players, and his players respect him in return. He is also able to bring out the best in players.

I hope the powers-that-be at Safa show their faith in the man and keep him at the helm much longer. I believe he has what it takes to qualify Bafana for the next World Cup Tournament.

Meanwhile, South Africa face Nigeria in the 2015 Afcon Qualifier at the Akwa Ibom Stadium today at 19:00.

We wish Bra Shakes and his boys the best of luck.

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