Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana coach Ephraim 'Shakes' Mashaba
has reserved special praise for Itumeleng Khune, describing the number one
goal-minder as among the best goalkeepers in the world.
"He is undoubtedly one of the best goalkeepers in the
world and I am still baffled as to why one of the top European clubs hasn’t
signed him," said Mashaba at a press conference on Wednesday as quoted by
Last year, Real Madrid and Costa Rican number one goalkeeper
Keylor Navas also lavished praise on the Kaizer Chiefs captain and wondered why
he was still playing in the Premier Soccer League instead of earning himself a
lucrative deal in one of the European top leagues.
Mashaba said a super fit Khune was just as good as any best
goalkeeper in the world.
"He is world class and is among the top 10 goalkeepers
in the world. With him marshalling the backline, you can be rest assured half
your problems are solved," said Mashaba answering a question on whether he
had his starting 11 in mind already.
The Bafana Bafana coach said along with his technical team, they had
the starting XI in mind but the decision on who will take to the field
will be determined by performance in training.
Mashaba emphasised that it was not necessary to feel
intimidated by Senegal’s big names as past records show there is little to
separate the two sides in their past meetings.
"We might not have dominated them but they haven’t
dominated us either. I think on our day, we have what it takes to beat the best
sides in the world and Senegal included."
He again reiterated that Mamelodi Sundowns’ triumph in
Africa had brought in some positives vibes among the players.
"We know what happened when Orlando Pirates won the CAF
Champions League title in 1995 and the subsequent year Bafana Bafana lifted the
Africa Cup of Nations. The spin offs are always positive," added Mashaba.
He said it was imperative for other PSL clubs to follow in
Sundowns' footsteps of taking African competitions seriously.
On new striker Lars Veldwijk, Mashaba said while the new
player was still trying to find his feet, he looked sharp at training and in
the long run could be the ultimate saviour because he is confident, bullish and
his imposing physical features could come in handy.
Kick off is at 15:00 on Saturday.