Banyana strife simmers on

2012-03-24 16:15

Reports of internal strife have emerged as Banyana Banyana prepare for their historical appearance at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

A source in the team told City Press that coach Joseph Mkhonza left in the middle of one of the training sessions in Cyprus.

According to the source who asked to remain anonymous, Mkhonza was incensed when newly-appointed technical adviser Shakes Mashaba tried to point out something to him after Banyana lost their game against South Korea during the recent 12 Nations tournament.

“He did not take lightly what Shakes was trying to tell him and he left in the middle of the session.

“He was visibly unhappy about it and his emotions got the better of him,” said the source, adding that at times Mkhonza was dwarfed by Mashaba’s presence on the pitch and the former was reduced to a glorified ballboy.

“At times Bra Shakes would take over some of the training sessions and Mkhonza would just observe,” added the source.

Mashaba was appointed by the South African Football Association (Safa) two months ago to strengthen the technical team in the build-up to the Olympic Games, at which Banyana will mark their maiden appearance in London.

City Press has learnt that Mkhonza is also not happy about fitness trainer Francesco Gonzales, the Brazilian who trains Bafana Bafana.

Another source in the team said: “The coach feels Gonzales was just imposed on him. He was happy with Warren Engelbrecht. He is used to him. However, players are already fond of Gonzales as they believe he has done an outstanding job.”

Engelbrecht is Banyana’s long time fitness coach.

The source also turned on Mkhonza, claiming that players are accusing the former Kaizer Chiefs player of lacking tactical acumen.

The source said the latest claims were only the tip of the iceberg, as there were many other scenarios playing out between Safa officials, who were also fighting for seats on the plane heading for the London Games, which runs from July 27 to August 12.

Mkhonza laughed off the allegations.

“There are no problems in the team. We actually work well with Shakes. I’m the one who asked for his appointment. Shakes is our technical adviser and the players are aware of that.

“I don’t know where this confusion comes from. Shakes was not involved in the team selection. I also have no problem with Gonzales. Sometimes, I was required to attend meetings and Shakes held the fort,” said Mkhonza.

Mashaba refused to comment and referred all queries to Banyana team manager Lydia Monyepao, who also watered down the allegations.

“I joined the team in Cyprus and I never observed anything. I attended all the team’s training sessions. Bra Shakes and the coach enjoyed a good relationship. Both coaches share ideas,” added Monyepao.

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