IT IS ALWAYS BETTER THE SECOND TIME AROUND
By: Bhekumndeni Kunene
Newly appointed Bafana Bafana coach, Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba is optimistic that he will turn the fortunes of the underachieving team around.
The former Black Leopards coach was appointed as coach last month for his second stint as Bafana mentor. He replaced Gordon Igesund whose contract was not renewed by the South African Football Association.
It had been widely speculated that another former Bafana coach, Carlos Queiroz would be appointed and it came as a surprise when Mashaba was announced as the new coach. With the emphasis put on development, Mashaba was the logical local choice having worked with the junior internationals.
Mashaba has promised to do all he can to fulfill his mandate to SAFA and make the national team a force to be reckoned with. “It is important that we build up a good team. Success lies in a good competitive team with consistent results,” he said.
The former Swaziland national team coach has a decent record with Bafana having won 10 of his 18 matches in charge while losing only three times. He plans to do better that record this time around and he says development is the centerpiece.
“Development should address issues of our players taking pride in wearing the national team jersey,” he added.
He also pleaded with the football fraternity to stand by the national side and be patient with the coaching staff for the good of the team. “In putting up a good team we also need the patience and support of the South African public,” he added.
Shakes also reassured Bafana Bafana fans that things are going to be different this time around.
“In my first stint as coach, the development pipeline was structured differently to what it is now. My experience with the youth national teams will also help me make informed decisions about young players coming through,” he concluded.
Mashaba wants to be different as coach of a team that is struggling to rediscover its past glory. If his previous record is anything to go by, happy days lie ahead for the beleaguered national team.
His expertise will be first tested when the team travels to Sudan on the sixth of September for to begin African Cup of Nations qualifiers.