Shakes backs his provisional selection

2014-12-21 15:00

Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba has steadfastly stood by his selection of the 34-man provisional squad for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Equatorial Guinea.

The coach told City Press he sees no need to justify his decision to omit some players. “I know there are players everybody will want to see in the team but they are not in the team now. It is not about you trying to expose us but you are hurting those players.

“It is what I call creators of barriers between coaches and players and it is not a good thing. Let’s talk about players who have been called up,” he said.

Those who question Mashaba’s selection argue that some of the selected players have not been regulars at their clubs. The likes of Siyabonga Mpontshane, Mzikayise Mashaba, Asavela Mbekile, Ntsikelelo Nyauza and Vuyisile Wana have had limited playing minutes at their clubs.

But Mashaba’s answer was that he was not going to deprive some players of a chance to play for the national team just because they were not regulars at their clubs.

The announcement of the team drew mixed reactions from the public, with the debate mainly centred on the players left out rather than those who made it.

Mashaba said the door was not closed on those outside the group but chances are they have missed the boat as he still has to drop 11 players for the final 23-man squad.

Questions were asked about the omission of the likes of Pirates striking pair Kermit Erasmus and Lehlohonolo Majoro, who have scored 10 league goals between them.

Other notable omissions are Kaizer Chiefs captain Tefu Mashamaite, fit-again former Bafana captain Itumeleng Khune, the hard-working Tsepo Masilela and tough-tackling Bidvest Wits defender Buhle Mkhwanazi.

Former Bafana mentors Pitso Mosimane, Gordon Igesund and Augusto Palacios came to Mashaba’s defence, saying he was on the right track and knew what he was doing.

“This is not the time to question his selection as he has been doing well,” said Mosimane. “It’s not about the big-name players but about those he believes in. What have those big-name players done for the team?”

According to him, Mashaba was correct in sticking to the players who have been doing the job for him. The Mamelodi Sundowns coach said he was happy that as many as four of his players have made the provisional squad.

Igesund said it was a tough job selecting the team and urged supporters to rally behind the technical team. “The fact is that everyone has got his or her preferences but the buck stops with him [Mashaba].

“As a national team coach, you cannot please all the people all the time but Shakes knows what he is doing and he needs our support.”

The SuperSport United coach said he felt pity for his left back Sibusiso Khumalo, who did not make the team because of a knee injury.

Palacios said: “There will always be issues about who is selected and who is not, but this is not the time to question Shakes’ selection. Let’s give his team a chance and see what happens.”

Mashaba will announce his final squad on December 30.

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