Mashaba continues to maintain positive outlook in the face of looming guillotine

06 September 2016 - 18:50 By Mninawa Ntloko

As the noose tightens around beleaguered Bafana Bafana coach Ephraim ‘‘Shakes” Mashaba’s neck‚ the man himself insists that he’s not fazed. Mashaba maintained a confident outlook this week and said he was not bothered by the dark clouds swirling overhead.The Bafana coach even made reference to preparations for next month’s 2018 Soccer World Cup qualifiers when indications are that his regime will not survive beyond this week.‘‘Criticism is always there‚ it is something that is always there‚” Mashaba said.‘‘You are being criticised even if you are eating — people will tell you that you are eating too much. ‘‘So we have accepted that and we have learnt to live with it. Most unfortunately you do not get exactly what people want to tell you about this criticism.‘‘They will say the team did not play well but elaboration‚ you do not get about all those things.”Mashaba’s South African Football Association (Safa) employers are concerned that Bafana failed to qualify from a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations group that included Mauritania‚ Gambia and Cameroon.With the exception of Cameroon‚ the 163rd-ranked Gambia and the 104th-ranked Mauritania are hardly world beaters.Bafana couldn’t beat Mauritania over two games after a 3-1 defeat away from home in Nouakchott last year and the drab 1-1 draw in Nelspruit last Friday that infuriated Safa president Danny Jordaan. Mashaba’s charges drew 0-0 with Gambia at Moses Mabhida Stadium last year and then manage a 4-0 reverse in the return leg in June when there was nothing to play for.Safa’s thinking is that if Bafana cannot emerge from a group that includes Gambia and Mauritania‚ how on earth will SA get to Russia in 2018?Bafana were drawn against Burkina Faso‚ the Cape Verde islands and Senegal in the World Cup qualifiers.These sides are a step above Mauritania and Gambia and given the national team’s performances over the past few months‚ Safa officials are not willing to take a risk and allow him to continue. Bafana won just once in six matches in the Cup of Nations qualifiers and the feeling within Safa is that it is highly likely Mashaba will also fail on the other mandate that was given to him — to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.But the unfazed Bafana coach preferred to look on the bright side of things and said he hoped his charges would get the better of the Egyptians on Tuesday and use the victory to build momentum ahead of the tricky World Cup qualifiers next. ‘‘(A win against Egypt) would boost the morale of the team and take that to the coming World Cup qualifiers‚ which are starting next month. We are ready for the match against Egypt and the spirit is fine in the team. Everybody is looking forward to playing in the game.” - TMG Digital

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