S'Busiso Mseleku

In Shakes Mashaba we trust!

2014-09-01 13:55
S’Busiso Mseleku (File)
In Shakes Mashaba we trust!

I'm prompted to make this bold statement by the latest developments in South African football. On the international front that is.

This past weekend, Mashaba qualified the SA Under-20 national football team for the African Youth Championships that will be held in Senegal next year.

He did this via a 3-2 aggregate victory following a 1-1 draw (away) and a 2-1 victory at home on Sunday. Mashaba's charges defeated a Cameroon side that boasted a few European-based players.

For good measure, they had to come back from a goal down for their victory at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.

This week, the coach prepares Bafana Bafana for what will be their first step towards qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals that will be held in Morocco next year.

The newly-appointed coach has urged his Bafana Bafana charges to "take this positive vibe forward".

While praising the Under-20's, Mashaba further stated: “This is great for the country and football at large. What I would now like to request is for the country to rally around all our national teams because we are bringing that pride back.

“I am proud of these young guys. They showed determination, guts and a never-say-die attitude. That is what I expect of everyone who dons the national colours; patriotism and passion are non-negotiable for me.”


For once in a long time South Africa has a coach for whom two of the most important ingredients of success - patriotism and passion - are non-negotiable.

It is also refreshing to note that for once in a long time, the South African Football Association (SAFA) seem to have ditched the idea of trying to build a house from the roof down.

There is an unusual vibe around the junior national teams, which are the foundation of any country's football.

As we speak, the senior women's national team - Banyana Banyana - have qualified for the African Women's Championships starting next month in Namibia.

The Under-17 national team is two games away - a home and away leg against Egypt - from making it to the African Junior Championships that will be hosted by Niger next year.

All these are positive signs that our football is on the right track.

Mashaba's first outing with Bafana might prove not to be too daunting as they face Sudan who are ranked much lower than South Africa.

However, his real litmus test will come next Wednesday when Bafana Bafana come up against reigning African champions, the Super Eagles of Nigeria in Cape Town.

Despite being in disarray with coach Stephen Keshi only being asked by that country's Sports Minister to resume his duties last week, Nigeria have proved to be our boys' nemesis in the past.

They have proved to be very strong for our previous teams at all levels, even at women's soccer.

A good result against Nigeria, would instill the much needed confidence on the national team and Mashaba going forward to their match against the third team in the Group, Congo Brazzaville.

There will also be some point to prove for Mashaba in this match as at some stage it seemed very likely that the top job of coaching Bafana Bafana would be given to Keshi.

So this will be an opportunity for Mashaba to vindicate SAFA's confidence in him.

It does seem like Bafana Bafana are in good hands.

S’Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning well over 20 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

Read more on:    bafana bafana  |  s’busiso mseleku  |  soccer

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