Cape Town - The famous saying, 'we live and we learn' needs to ring in Shakes Mashaba’s ear upon his return from Equatorial Guinea.
Read: Bafana like a second hand car
Bafana Bafana succumb to yet another knockout of a major tournament, however, the expectations placed upon the team were surprisingly high following their convincing qualification for AFCON.
But let’s not add to the negative penny pot as many have following the final whistle at the Stade de Mongomo.
Mashaba took over in August last year and has already over seen some serious positive changes.
A brick wall would eventually pop up somewhere along the journey of his transformation and unfortunately it had to be during the tournament.
Sadly, Mashaba will have to go back to the drawing board and ask himself several questions.
Was the team too young?
Yes, the team lacked experience but that is okay. The current team will grow better as a unit with the 2022 vision in mind. Germany are currently a powerhouse in the international football sphere and this is all because their national sides are on the same wave length. This can't happen over night. It took 10-14 years for Germany to bare the fruits of their blueprint. Bafana and SAFA have not reached 12 months of their new plan that was placed following the induction of the new executive committee.
Did they lack Big Match Temperament?
South Africa took the lead in all three games but lost the plot along the way and the Ghana tie was the worst 90 minutes of it all. They lacked the confidence to take charge. They talked big before every game and showed confidence but simply could not play football when it was required from them. But again this team will grow together having gained the experience of such a tournament.
Should Tefu Mashamaite have been selected?
YES! How Mashaba left Mashamaite out of the squad is still mind boggling. Eric Mathoho and the 30-year-old have formed a formidable partnership at Kaizer Chiefs. Don’t be afraid of experience Shakes, it comes in handy especially for the younger ones.
Do I need to drop my ego?
Unfortunately, yes. Mashaba needs to calm his ego. Former Bafana Bafana forward, Benni McCarthy, was asked his honest opinion by SuperSport host, Robert Marawa, as to what is wrong with South Africa. After holding back, McCarthy eventually said that it comes down to coaching. The former striker believes that players and coaches are not doing enough on the training grounds and sees this as a problem as Bafana Bafana squandered numerous goal bound chances.
There are several players abroad plying their trade, yet most of the Bafana Bafana players participate in the PSL. Mashaba should offer every player capable of playing for the national side a fair chance. Thulani Serero was snubbed but why? His soccer education is at a higher level with being a regular at Ajax Amsterdam and surely could of added some spark in the Bafana team.
Lets hope the 64-year-old will learn from his mistakes.
As a man, it’s hard to drop your ego. It has driven Mashaba thus far to prove his critics wrong since taking over the reigns from Gordon Igesund. This is a minor pothole that needs mending, and the mending begins as soon as he steps out at OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg when Bafana Bafana returns.
*Follow our soccer journalist, Tashreeq Vardien, on Twitter: @tash23vard