Bafana Bafana

Shakes silences his critics

2014-11-16 16:00
Shakes Mashaba (Gallo Images)

Durban - Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba says whoever still doubts whether he is the right man for the job is doing so 'at their own peril'.

As it happened: Bafana Bafana v Sudan

"I think we may still have those doubters. When I read newspapers, they always refer back to where we came from with Bafana. It's not something new," Mashaba said.

South Africa secured passage to next year's Africa Cup of Nations, with a game to spare after a 2-1 win over Sudan courtesy of goals from Thulani Serero and Tokelo Rantie in Durban on Saturday.

Bafana are set to take on Nigeria on Wednesday, in their final Group A encounter.

"In life, you have doubters. You have those who have their own people. Maybe I'm not their person [but] for what I've done in football, I doubt there's still someone who will doubt my abilities. I've done a lot with the junior and senior national teams.

"There's no-one who's going to blow your horn for you, you have to blow it yourself."

Earlier this year, shortly after he was appointed national coach ahead of two overseas-based candidates, Mashaba hit out at sections of the media who claimed that he was "the cheapest option", questioning the 64-year-old's credentials at the highest level.

The result however, seems to have finally put those fears to bed as South Africa celebrated their first qualification for a major tournament since 2008.

Heading into the game without a goal on home soil, Serero scored his first goal for the national team, while Rantie rounded-off a classy break to maintain South Africa’s unbeaten record in the qualifiers.

"I know there will be experts telling us that our tactical work is not right. What matters is the goals," Mashaba said.

"If you looked at Sudan, they had a plan. They were not here to win, a draw would have done them a good thing.

"After a long time, to see our boys playing the kind of football they played was everything that you would have asked for as a coach."

A highly-emotional affair on a cold and cloudy Durban afternoon began with a minute's silence in honour of former captain and goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa, who was shot dead in Vosloorus on November 26.

Replacement goalkeeper Darren Keet was solid in only his second ever outing for the national team, having come in with the enormous task of replacing Meyiwa, who had kept four out of four clean-sheets in the qualifiers.

Asked if he was sad to see Bafana leak their first goal of the qualifiers, Mashaba pointed to the fact that South Africa got the victory, regardless of the score.

"There's nothing that can make me sad. Sudan scored but we still won. I'll be sad to break the record and we had lost the game.

"Darren did very well, even the goal that was scored, we can't blame him for that. His defence went to sleep.

"We nearly gave it away towards the last minutes. The players all switched and they sat at the back and we invited Sudan to come at us."

With qualification and an unassailable four-point lead atop of the group, does this mean Mashaba and his troops will head to Nigeria with nothing to play for?

"No, I know people are going to say that it's just a walkover. We're still going to play our best team. It's more than three points when you go to Nigeria, there are a lot of things that we're going to be playing for.

"It's going to be another tough game like the one we played today."

South Africa were due to depart for Lagos, Nigeria, on Sunday evening, before travelling to Uyo in the south-east of the country where they take on the Super Eagles in a newly-built Akwa Ibom International Stadium.


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