Shakes Mashaba has mixed feelings about taking charge of Bafana

2014-08-06 10:13

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Shakes Mashaba has expressed mixed feelings about his appointment as the Bafana Bafana coach.

“The country has been buzzing since my appointment. I was excited but now that it has sunk in, I realise there is much more work to do ... [if] I [am to] succeed or not,” he said during the arrival of the South African under-20 side (Amajita) at OR Tambo International Airport this morning.

He guided the junior team in their West Africa tour, which included a series of friendly matches against Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast.

They lost two of the four matches against these nations – against Ivory Coast and Mali – and drew against Senegal and Burkina Faso.

Mashaba, who is celebrating his 63rd birthday today, is in the process of handing over Amajita so he can take over Bafana. He is concerned that his transition will have a negative effect on the progress he has already made with Amajita.

“It’s even more difficult because of the love I have for the junior national teams. It is not nice to start a project and break it in between,” he said with teary eyes.

Mashaba has already guided Amajita to triumph in the Cosafa Under-20 Championships and he is on the verge of qualifying the team for the African Youth Championships taking place in Senegal in March.

“We only have one hurdle left. The plan is to qualify for the semifinals and we’ll be in the World Cup. Everybody is crying that we are not qualifying for these tournaments. It won’t happen through the South African Football Association alone. We still have to groom players as we haven’t had good players since 1996. We don’t have players who can affect things in a game. We have to look at these young players (to close that gap).”

The under-20 team face Cameroon away in the first leg of the African Youth Championships qualifiers on August 16. The return clash is pencilled in for August 30.

The winners will join hosts Senegal for the final tournament with the semifinalists qualifying to represent Africa at the 2015 Fifa Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand.

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