Bafana’s Mashaba calls for ‘cohesion’ among coaches

Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba has called for continuity as the South African Football Association (Safa) ponders who should replace Mashaba as national under-20 coach.

“I hear a lot of people talking about this [Sunday’s match in Polokwane with under-20s] being my last game. It’s not a last game,” Mashaba said on Monday. “The new way of doing things now is that the coaches of the junior national teams have to work with the senior national team coach. There must be that cohesion going up. So that they [junior coaches] know, from the bottom, what is needed at the top.” 

Mashaba took charge of his final game as Amajita’s mentor on Sunday, guiding the South Africa under-20 team to a thrilling 3-2 aggregate victory over Cameroon in Polokwane. The victory secured them a spot at next year’s African Youth Championships in Senegal. 

On Monday, Mashaba relinquished his position to assume the role of Bafana coach ahead of a crucial 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Sudan, in Khartoum, on Friday. He had already begun the process of slowly blooding youngsters from the victorious Amajita outfit into the senior squad. 

Mashaba included three of the under-20 players in his Bafana group for the clash against Sudan, which would be followed by a second qualifier against defending Afcon champions, Nigeria, next Wednesday. 

With a good understanding of the young guns, he called up Amajita skipper Ayabulela Magqwaka, Rivaldo Coetzee and Dumisani Msibi. The 64-year-old wants to see coaches working together in order to create a senior team capable of regularly qualifying and challenging at major international tournaments.

“The time has come where we’ve got to see [that] the coach of the under-23s becomes the assistant of the senior national team, the coach of the under-20s becomes the assistant of the under-23s and so on. That will bring this understanding in coaches and bring uniformity in dealing with these youngsters,” Mashaba said.

“Those things like uniformity … you can’t address them at a national level, it’s got to start at club level.” 

Mashaba and his team depart for Khartoum on Wednesday, ahead of Friday’s kick-off. – Sapa

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