Bafana Bafana

Critics descend on wounded Mashaba

2015-09-11 15:17
Shakes Mashaba (Gallo Images)

Judging by his recent rhetoric, under-pressure Bafana Bafana coach Ephraim "Shakes" Mashaba would not disagree with the laconic sentiment that "critics are the people who come out of the hills after the battle to shoot the wounded."

Mashaba, of course, has become something of a wounded man himself and a prime target after South Africa's painful 3-1 defeat against unheralded Mauritania has left Bafana perilously close to missing out on a qualifying place for the 2017 African Nations Cup tournament in Gabon.

The consequent 1-0 victory over Senegal in the less-significant Nelson Mandela Challenge game has diluted the pressure on Mashaba, but far from silenced the sniping of his detractors.

In one respect, in particular, one can sympathise with the Bafana coach over the criticism heaped in his direction by a substantial complement of members from the fourth estate, who are now howling for his blood with the intensity of a hungry pack of wolves.

It was only a short while ago that many of these self-same critics were praising Mashaba to the heavens and proclaiming him as the ordained messiah to lead Bafana out of the land of mediocrity and into the promised land reserved for major and respected forces in world football.

Perhaps, therefore, Mashaba can be excused for likening his plight to the anguish suffered in biblical times by Jesus and questioning the patriotism of the horde who have descended on him from the hills and are calling for his head.

But looking at the situation in a more rational light, what the Mauritania setback has done is placed the Bafana situation in a more accurate perspective - neither with the over-hasty and widespread euphoria that greeted the early successes of Mashaba's reign or the equally premature call for his head.

What needs to be accepted whether it is entirely palatable or not is that the underlying malaise that has left Bafana lingering in 72nd position in the FIFA world rankings and an unpalatable 17th in Africa despite the country enjoying the best facilities on the continent, has yet to be addressed.

Mashaba is not at the root of the trouble despite making a couple of costly miscalculations of late, like his controversial rotation attitude towards the captaincy issue.

But then, at the same time, like a host of other coaches before him, he has not solved the riddle of Bafana's under-achieving either.

Read more on:    bafana bafana  |  shakes mashaba  |  soccer

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Bafana Bafana have been drawn with Cameroon, Gambia and Mauritania in the qualification stages for the 2017 AFCON tournament. Where will Shakes Mashaba's men finish in their pool?

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