/ 12 October 2014

This is no time for showboating, warns Mashaba

Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba has no time to nurture new talent.
Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba has no time to nurture new talent.

Bafana Bafana coach Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba says his side is steadily improving after they beat Congo-Brazzaville 2-0 in their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on Saturday. South Africa now top the log in Group A with seven points after three games.

“I am happy to have beaten Congo for the second time,” said Mashaba after the game.

“The first time [in 1992] I was a stand-in coach. We defeated them 1-0. Today it was two and I hope the next time it will be three. But it shows there is some improvement from the coaches, we are getting somewhere. It also shows we are on track with our vision.”

Second half goals from strikers Bongani Ndulula and Tokelo Rantie mean the South Africans return home with maximum points.

Mashaba said his players had been impressive.

“If you look at the personnel we brought in, they looked good. Youngster Rivaldo Coetzee was outstanding, Reneilwe Letsholonyane gave us what we wanted.

“Going forward we will bring in one or two more players, because we are building a new side and I hope it will bring more results.”

Mashaba said if Bafana qualified for Afcon 2015, he would test the strength of the squad in preparation for the World Cup in 2018.

Bafana are yet to concede a goal in the qualifiers.

“It’s a combination of things because when you play good football without scoring it doesn’t help, but you can also play bad and get three points.

“But here we have combined the two because the boys are playing good football; it’s been quite a while since I last saw our team playing such good football.”

South Africa has another date with Congo on Wednesday, at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane – a match that could clinch qualification for Afcon 2015.

Despite being on the verge of qualification, Mashaba said he would work on keeping his players grounded.

“This result has led us to the good and the bad. Players – when they have taken a lead they’re showboating – and it’s a tough thing to get it out of them.

“They are booming with confidence and it nearly cost us. If it was not for Senzo Meyiwa they would have scored a goal or two.”

The coach said Bafana would adopt a similar approach in the next match.

“We need to guard against complacency. Playing at home is also not a luxury anymore as the players come more under pressure from the fans and end up making mistakes. But I believe it’s a plus to us having played three tough games without conceding.” – Sapa