Sport

Shakes Mashaba is new Bafana coach

Nick Said, Sapa

Safa has appointed South African coach Ephraim "Shakes" Mashaba as the new head coach of Bafana Bafana, a position he held previously in 2002.

Shakes Mashaba leaves his role as national under-20 and under-23 coach to coach Bafana. (Gallo)

South African coach Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba has been appointed as head coach of Bafana Bafana, the South African Football Association (Safa) announced on Saturday.

“As we speak, Shakes Mashaba is the senior national team’s coach,” Safa president Danny Jordaan told reporters at Safa House in Nasrec, Soweto.

“We ask for patience from the public and the media. Let us watch Shakes grow into this role.”

Mashaba (63) replaces outgoing boss Gordon Igesund, whose contract to the end of August has not been renewed.

The Soweto-born mentor is no stranger on the local scene, having previously held the Bafana position in 2002, before he was appointed head coach of the Swaziland national team four years later. He has also had two previous caretaker spells with the senior team.

Saturday’s announcement means Mashaba leaves his role as national under-20 and under-23 coach.

Mashaba did not attend the Safa announcement on Saturday as he was with the South African men’s under-20 team on a tour of West Africa. The team was scheduled to play an international friendly against Mali in Bamako on Saturday.

Cash-strapped Safa have opted for a local coach despite receiving interest in the post from Carlos Queiroz, who led Iran at the recent World Cup in Brazil, and Stephen Keshi of Nigeria. The Dutch duo of Frank Rijkaard and Dick Advocaat were also in the running.

Mashaba had a tempestuous relationship with his Safa bosses during his first spell in charge of the side and was sacked after refusing to recall overseas-based players Quinton Fortune and Hans Vonk when they asked to be excused from a training camp ahead of the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations.

He was also axed from the bench in the middle of that spell for refusing to call on the country’s top players in Europe for a high-profile friendly against England in 2003.

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, who attended the announcement, said he was delighted with the Safa national executive committee’s decision. “Finally this matter had been laid to rest,” he said.

“We support the decision of the new coach. We are rebuilding the giant which is football. We are a winning nation, but you can’t win with nothing.”

Mbalula congratulated the new coach, who he said was coming back for a “second bite”.

South Africa have had 17 coaches since their readmission into international football in 1992 following a Fifa ban as a result of apartheid, though five of those, including Mashaba, have had more than one go in the hot seat.

The fortunes of the national side have been in steady decline since their high of winning the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations and they became the only host nation to exit the World Cup in the first round in 2010. – Sapa, Reuters

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