Cape Town - The jury is out on whether Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba should get the axe - or continue at the helm of the national team.
Bafana hit rock-bottom in their AFCON 2017 qualifier against minnows Mauritania on Saturday, going down 3-1 to the 114th-ranked team in the world in what will go down in the annals as the worst performance by Bafana in living memory.
Was it a mere blip in the road to long-term glory, or is it time for fresh blood in charge?
Sport24's soccer team of Tashreeq Vardien and Wade Pretorius have their say on the matter.
Shakes must stay! - Tashreeq Vardien
Bafana Bafana is no quick fix and those who think Shakes Mashaba should get the sack should think twice.
Following South Africa’s 3-1 defeat to Mauritania – a team ranked 114th according to FIFA – the pressure from fans to give Mashaba his marching orders has increased.
Everyone seems to know what Bafana Bafana really needs and firing the 64-year-old seems to be one of the things many fans are suggesting should happen.
But I am here in defence of holding onto Shakes as Bafana Bafana coach.
SAFA have appointed 12 coaches in the last 15 years with Trott Moloto, Jomo Sono, Pitso Mosimane and Carlos Alberto Parreira all having two opportunities to mentor the national side.
However, Mashaba is in his fourth stint.
The Bafana Bafana job is a poisoned chalice yet everybody wants it.
No one has had the courage of mending a side for the future and Mashaba has insisted that he has no specific mandate but wants to create a foundation for South African soccer.
Mashaba started his fourth spell as coach in a manner many could not have predicted, playing attractive football with a young squad, snubbing several experience players.
Mashaba has brought in Owen da Gama as his assistant coach who is also in charge of Amaglug-glug, the national under-23 side. It has proved beneficial so far as Da Gama can put in a word for players to make the Bafana Bafana jump.
Mashaba's blueprint for the national side indeed has gone off course but everyone is entitled to mistakes as well as correcting them.
He has been entrusted by SAFA to implement his ideas but hoping Bafana Bafana bring those ideas to life in one year is nothing short of being impatient.
So give Shakes time, we have nothing to lose anyway.
Shakes must go! - Wade Pretorius
Bafana Bafana’s humiliating defeat to Mauritania was the final straw... Shakes Mashaba took the country’s footballing hopes to a new low after losing to a team ranked 114 in the FIFA rankings.
I will agree that while Mashaba’s latest spell in charge of the team started well, the decline in results and level of play is too blatant to ignore. Following Bafana Bafana’s woeful AFCON 2015 campaign (one draw and two losses plus three goalkeepers in three games) the team’s level of performance has continued to deteriorate.
The three main reasons to sack Mashaba:
1. Before Gambia, Mashaba admitted he knew little about the opposition. Before Mauritania, the side believed they would be playing on a natural pitch, only to complain about the artificial surface after they were humbled 3-1.
Having no knowledge of the team or conditions smacks of a mixture between arrogance and amateur-thinking - there is NO way such preparation can be tolerated any longer.
2. There has been much muttering from many knowledgeable soccer analysts that suggest Mashaba employs outdated coaching methods. What is clear from watching Bafana Bafana’s recent matches is that a) Mashaba has no clear plan to address the goal shortage and relies heavily on individual moments of brilliance and b) Mashaba is unable to alter his gameplan during the game – most evident against Mauritania when Furman and Jali resorted to long ball tactics.
Mashaba, like most coaches or managers, needs to adapt to the modern game or face being cast aside.
3. With no clear plan in sight, the South African national team cannot continue to play sub-standard football with constant chopping and changing of the setup (Mashaba has called up 83 players in his first year in charge).
Only 5 players under the age of 23 were included in his latest matchday squad and I’m not sure if this represents a focus towards building a side.
Shakes Mashaba record as Bafana Bafana coach (latest spell in charge):
Who would I get to replace Shakes? While no clear candidate sticks out, I would suggest considering one of Stuart Baxter, Pitso Mosimane, Steve Komphela, Gavin Hunt or possibly Stephen Keshi for one of the hardest jobs on the continent.
Which side of the fence are you on - should Mashaba stay or be fired now?
Let us know on Twitter @sport24news or in the comments section below what your choice would be.