Bafana Bafana

Shakes: Bafana turning the corner

2015-11-18 10:05
Shakes Mashaba (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - South African coach Shakes Mashaba believes that his side is on on the verge of "turning the corner", but knows that a tough year awaits.

Bafana Bafana progressed to the 2018 World Cup qualifying group stages with a 4-1 aggregate win over Angola after they won the second leg 1-0 in Durban on Tuesday night. 

The result sees Mashaba take one step closer to securing the country's fourth World Cup appearance, but with the group draw only taking place in early 2016 and the qualifiers only getting underway towards the end of next year, there is still a lot of time to ponder the way forward.

"We cannot just sit and think we will go into the finals and that miracles are going to happen," Mashaba said.

"We need to get, maybe, practice matches … but unfortunately we are governed by the availability of players … the FIFA dates.

"Even if you get your team the other countries that you challenge won’t give you the best team."

What Mashaba does have to look forward to is the remainder of his side's 2017 AFCON qualifying campaign, which has not gotten off to a good start.

Bafana are bottom of Group M after two fixtures, and they have a difficult task ahead if they are to move ahead of Cameroon, Gambia and Mauritania by the end of next year to top the group and qualify for Gabon 2017. 

A double-header against Cameroon awaits in March before a trip to Gambia in June and then the hosting of Mauritania in September.

Mashaba still believes that it is possible to qualify.

"Mauritania … they’ll pay dearly for what they did," he said.

"It seems impossible until it’s done. Nothing can stop us beating Cameroon twice, nothing can stop us reversing the Mauritania result … anything is possible.

"But it’s not going to be easy, it’s going to be tough. But with the kind of players and their approach and commitment, I think we’re on the verge of turning things around.

"It will be important to keep momentum in terms of good results."


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