Stop worrying about petty things‚ 'Shakes' Mashaba says to Bafana coach Stuart Baxter
Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba has asked Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter to stop obsessing about 'petty things' ahead the vital Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Libya next month.
Mashaba‚ the former Bafana coach‚ said his successor should rather channel his energy on assembling a strong squad for the match rather than allowing the Libyans' mind games to get in his head.
The Libyans are yet to confirm the venue and date of the crunch encounter and the only thing Baxter knows is that the game will be played on the weekend of March 22-24.
“We are worried about petty things like where is the match is going to be played‚” Mashaba said in his trademark forthright manner.
“If they take us to the moon‚ we have to go out there and play them.
"We really shouldn’t be worrying about those things and we should be focusing our energies on putting the best possible team to go out there and making sure that they carry out the mission of winning the match.
“Wherever they take us‚ it is going to be the same for both teams with referees and fans inside the stadium.
"Let’s make sure we have the right team because this is a critical game for the country and we must not even talk about a draw.
"If you talk a draw‚ the next thing close to it is a loss and we don’t need that.”
Asked if he was optimistic that Bafana would qualify for the Afcon finals and book their tickets to Egypt in June‚ Mashaba said he admitted that he's far from certain.
“Nobody is sure what is going to happen with regards to the Libya game‚" he said.
"We are not sure who is going to be playing in our team and the coach said recently that he is leaving if they don’t win that match.
"Those kinds of things are not good for us.
"We need to make sure of our preparations so that when we leave for the game everything is in order.
“We like playing second fiddle to other countries on the continent‚ there is never a time where we say let’s put up a strong team and go and win the match.
"I heard the coach asking for extra days to prepare for the match and I agree because we need that.
"But‚ if he doesn’t get those extra days‚ we have to find another ways of dealing with the situation.”