Bafana Bafana

Mbalula fully behind Mashaba

2014-07-28 09:00
SA Under-20 coach Shakes Mashaba (Gallo Images)
Pretoria - Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula believes newly appointed Bafana Bafana coach, Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba, needs all the support he can get from the public in order to prosper in his new role.

The national Under-20 coach was tasked with the tough assignment of taking Bafana to greater heights at the South African Football Association (SAFA) house in Nasrec on Saturday.

Mashaba, 63, replaces Gordon Igesund who was released from his managerial duties last month.

The former African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) President also hailed SAFA’s decision to award a local coach with a platform to attempt the resurrection of the country’s football.

Mbalula called on the country’s football fraternity to look on the bright side and support SAFA’s decision.

“We need to look beyond the coach,” said Mbalula.

“Shakes needs a lot of support from us. The government must also play its role when it comes to investing in the development structures and football resources when it comes to terms of football academies around the country.

“We must also strengthen our sports in schools all over the country. Over and above that, Shakes will also need support from the people will surround himself with.

“He will also need expert and technical support in terms of the directors to be appointed by SAFA and that can come (from) anywhere in the world.

“Most importantly, SAFA invested in home brew - somebody who played the game and who understands the philosophy and the style of South African football.

“He has our full support and let us have long term views for our football. I hear we have the 2018 and 2022 visions. It’s important to get there but let’s look at the sustainability and long term goals for the country.”

Mashaba is currently away with the Amajita team who travelled to West Africa for friendly games in preparation for the crucial clash against Cameroon in the 2015 African Youth Championship qualifiers.

Mashaba’s first challenge in the senior national team will be to guide Bafana to next year's African Cup of Nations (AFCON) to be staged in Morocco.

Bafana have been drawn against Sudan and Nigeria in the same pool of the qualifying round set to commence in September.

The winner of the group will claim the golden ticket to the continental showpiece.

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