Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba says he relates well to his Springboks counterpart Heyneke Meyer’s situation. Like the senior football coach, Meyer is in the spotlight following a disastrous national team result.
Mashaba was speaking to the media during the announcement of the Bafana team for the upcoming friendly matches against Costa Rica and Honduras next month.
“It’s difficult to say if South Africans are harsh or not. We’re sharing the pain with the Boks,” said Mashaba in his closing remarks during today’s press conference at Safa House.
Like Bafana, who lost to minnows in an Afcon qualifier against a lowly ranked Mauritania, the Boks were defeated by Japan in their Rugby World Cup opening fixture on Saturday.
“There is still a chance [for the Boks] to improve. We are pleading with them [the nation] to bear with us and we’ll deliver.”
Bafana, who are yet to register a win in their two 2017 Afcon qualifiers, return to the international arena with fixtures against Costa Rica on October 8 and Honduras on October 13.
Mashaba said the objective was to give his players the experience against teams such as the two Central American nations.
Bafana begin their 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifying campaign against Angola in November.
Before the above meeting, South Africa would have faced the same southern African region neighbours in the African Nations Championship (Chan) tournament.
However, Mashaba hinted that he would not have “most, if not all of the players for Chan” that he announced today.
“We can only hope that they will be there for the World Cup qualifiers.”
Notable newcomers to Bafana were Kaizer Chiefs in-form attacking midfielder George Lebese and Ajax Cape Town striker Prince Nxumalo.
Lebese has been in a devastating form for Amakhosi so far this season and has scored six times in all competitions.
He last featured for Bafana as a substitute in a Bafana friendly against Poland three years ago and Nxumalo is a first time call-up to the senior national team.
The full squad:
Goalkeepers: Jackson Mabokgwane (Black Aces), Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs), Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United)
Defenders: Anele Ngcongca (Troyes FC, France) Thabo Matlaba (Orlando Pirates), Mzikayise Mashaba (Mamelodi Sundowns), Erick Mathoho (Chiefs), Clayton Daniels (SuperSport), Rivaldo Coetzee (Ajax Cape Town), Thulani Hlatshwayo (Bidvest Wits), Siyabonga Nhlapo (Wits)
Midfielders: Andile Jali (KV Oostende, Belgium), Dean Furman (SuperSport), Bongani Zungu (Sundowns), Oupa Manyisa (Pirates), Jabulani Shongwe (Wits), George Lebese (Chiefs), Mpho Makola (Pirates), Ayanda Patosi (Lokeren FC, Belgium), Mandla Masango (Randers FC, Denmark)
Strikers: Sibusiso Vilakazi (Wits), Thulani Serero (Ajax Amsterdam, Netherlands), Prince Nxumalo (Ajax), Tokelo Rantie (ASA Bournemouth, England), Thamsanqa Gabuza (Pirates)
Bafana fixtures at a glance:
October 8: friendly game vs Costa Rica (Baltodano Bricenio Stadium, Costa Rica – 4am SA time) October 13: friendly game vs Honduras (Metropolitano Stadium, Honduras – 12am SA time) October 17: Chan game vs Angola (home)
October 24: Chan game vs Angola (Luanda) November 13: 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifier first leg vs Angola (Angola)
November 17: 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifier second leg vs Angola (Durban)
*Dates subject to Fifa and CAF