Shakes Mashaba remains confident amid chaos

2014-11-27 18:30

Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba has expressed confidence in the team he will field in Sunday’s Nelson Mandela Challenge against an equally depleted Ivory Coast side.

“I believe we have now cemented a culture whereby anyone and everyone who wears the Bafana jersey will be able to perform,” Mashaba said today.

“We have a large pool of talented players in this country and those who will ultimately face Ivory Coast will be afforded the opportunity of jumping the queue for selection for Afcon.”

The tradition-steeped fixture takes place in Nelspruit on a date not designated by Fifa for international matches, causing Mashaba to announce a depleted squad.

Safa president Danny Jordaan had expressed the hope that “all those now selected will honour the commitment to represent their country in what remains an occasion of great significance in honouring Madiba.”

But hardly had the ink dried on the names of the 23 players on Tuesday when Kaizer Chiefs and Wits announced they would not release some of their players.

Soon afterwards Chippa United placed doubts on the availability of goal-scoring striker David Zulu, citing he had an injury and might not be fit in time to play against the Ivorians.

Meanwhile former Bafana and Black Aces coach Clive Barker, the only coach to guide South Africa to a major soccer title when Bafana annexed the African Nations Cup in 1996, said he was “critical of anyone depriving a player of the right to represent his country.

“I know the game is not being played on a Fifa-designated date and clubs accordingly have the right to refuse to release their players,” he said.

“But no one should take it lightly in preventing a player from representing his country. It is a rare honour that is only achieved by a select few.”

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