Goalkeeper crisis for Shakes Mashaba

2016-03-16 06:00
PHOTO: gallo images  Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba faces a goalkeeper crisis ahead of Bafana’s match against Cameroon in the Caf qualifier at the end of the month.

PHOTO: gallo images Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba faces a goalkeeper crisis ahead of Bafana’s match against Cameroon in the Caf qualifier at the end of the month.

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BAFANA Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba will have some choices to make as he prepares for two crunch 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Cameroon at the end of the month.

The South Africans are rock-bottom of Group M after a draw and a defeat in their opening two matches, and know they will need to win both games against the group leaders if they hope to qualify.

Mashaba is set to announce his squad for the matches today, and the biggest area of concern at the moment is in goals, where a combination of injuries, a lack of form and a lack of game-time means there should – in theory – be plenty of changes.

Looking at the keepers in the squad that beat Angola over two legs in 2018 World Cup qualifiers late last year, two of them are on the bench at their clubs and the other is battling for form.

Jackson Mabokgwane, who started both games against Angola, is playing second fiddle to Shu-Aib Walters at Mpumalanga Black Aces and has started just four League games all season.

Similarly, Brilliant Khuzwayo is behind Reyaad Pieterse at Kaizer Chiefs while Ronwen Williams, the other goalie in the last Bafana squad, is struggling to hit form and is not quite the player who burst onto the scene a few years ago.

Mashaba’s go-to man, Itumeleng Khune, has also spent most of the season injured and last played a competitive game in January.

South Africa have two form keepers at the moment in Moeneeb Josephs and Darren Keet, but the veteran Bidvest Wits goalie has already indicated he is done with Bafana, while Keet’s utterances about the “rotation policy” used at the last Afcon is unlikely to earn him a recall.

One of the biggest problems facing Mashaba is the fact that more than half of the PSL clubs have foreigners as their starting keepers – Anssi Jaakkola (Ajax Cape Town), Patrick Tignyemb (Bloemfontein Celtic), Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United), Daouda Diakite (Free State Stars), Maximilian Mbaeva (Golden Arrows), Denis Onyango (Mamelodi­ Sundowns), Glenn Verbauwhede (Maritzburg United), George Chigova (Polokwane City) and Washington Arubi (University of Pretoria).

With that in mind, Mashaba has very little option in goals when he names his squad.

Orlando Pirates’ Brighton Mhlongo should earn a call-up, as should Pieterse. The third keeper, and one very deserving on current form, should be Jomo Cosmos’ Sherwin Naicker – the only reason Ezenkosi are not at rock-bottom at the moment.

But this picture also brings a problem … there is not a single Bafana cap between the three of them – hardly the ideal situation going into a double-header against the Indomitable Lions.

So expect Mashaba to turn to his old favourites – the short-of-match-fitness Khune, and/or second choice Khuzwayo/Mabokgwane.


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