Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba has survived the chop – for now.
As a result, Mashaba will live to see another day at the helm of the senior national soccer team and will be in charge of Bafana’s 2018 Russia World Cup qualifying game against Burkina Faso early next month. Bafana will face hosts Senegal in a second game in November.
Mashaba’s reprieve follows an SA Football Association (Safa) technical committee meeting yesterday to analyse the Bafana technical team’s report following the botched 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualification attempts.
The gathering was a damp squib as it did not discuss Mashaba’s future as the Bafana coach, nor did it make a decision on his future involvement with the squad.
The committee will compile a report that will be presented to the executive committee on September 24.
The committee will then make a decision on the coach’s future, after he failed to achieve the first of his two mandates – when he took the job in 2014, Mashaba’s mandate was to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Gabon and the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia.
Instead, Bafana qualified for the 2015 Afcon in Equatorial Guinea, where they were knocked out in the first round.
City Press understands that a combination of factors might have saved the beleaguered Mashaba from the guillotine.
Following a lacklustre 1-1 draw against Mauritania that made Safa’s head honchos see red, compelling them to read the riot act to Mashaba, many thought he would not survive.
Even Safa president Danny Jordaan had hinted in a statement that Mashaba’s time was up, but a gutsy performance against Egypt in the Nelson Mandela Challenge could have saved his skin. This match was widely tipped as Mashaba’s last as coach.
Why he survived
- City Press understands that firing the coach at this juncture, a few weeks before the first World Cup qualifiers, would be foolhardy;
- Again, a look around also meant Safa would not have any time to employ any credible coach, as favourite Gavin Hunt is already occupied at Bidvest Wits;
- Moreover, a foreign coach with credible credentials would need time to adapt to the country;
- The fact that his contract runs until after the 2018 World Cup and on a salary that is reportedly more than R500 000 monthly, Safa was reluctant to pull the trigger, as that would entitle Mashaba to a massive pay-out.
A senior Safa official confirmed their unhappiness with the situation, but said they had to make a sober decision.
The official confirmed the coach met with Safa’s president the night before the Nelson Mandela Challenge.
“The meeting was to voice Safa’s displeasure about the game against Mauritania. In his defence, the coach said the players had just returned from a long break, but this was still not an excuse, as we had expected a better offering. Everyone was unanimous that the performance was not up to scratch and the reaction to the Egypt game was there for everyone to see,” said the insider.