Mashaba hopes Amajita can progress past group stage at World Cup
Former Bafana Bafana coach Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba has congratulated Amajita for qualifying for the Fifa Under- 20 World Cup in Poland later this year‚ and hopes that they can buck the trend and get out of the group stages.
The SA Under-20s qualified for the World Cup reaching the semifinals‚ thereby confirming a top four place‚ at the current Caf Africa U-20 Cup of Nations in Niger.
They meet Nigeria in Saturday's third/fourth-place playoff on Saturday (kickoff 5.30pm).
In recent years‚ a number of South African men’s and women’s national teams have managed to qualify for major international tournaments‚ but they consistently struggled to progress past group stages.
“Our women’s team [Banyana Banyana] has qualified for the World Cup and we are all sitting with a worry of what is going to happen when they get there‚” Mashaba said.
“If you look at their group‚ they will be up against strong teams and our chances are limited. It looks like we are going there just to visit and come back after the first round.
“It is the same thing with the boys as well‚ because the U-17 boys went to the World Cup and we all know what happened there. Bafana Bafana hosted the World Cup and we all know what happened there.”
Mashaba said his sense is that this is proof that there is something South African football is not doing right.
“This means that there is something that we are not doing right and my advice is to look at the PSL calendar and competitions that are there‚” he said.
“Besides the Fifa dates‚ we must have two or three other days where you can select national team players that can go and play against European teams.
“You know that you won’t get the best players from other countries in Europe because their league will be on but the experience will teach the boys to acclimatise to those foreign conditions.
“They will have the opportunity to compete with players who are above them in terms of tactical and technical awareness and commitment and passion.
“Skill-wise you know that South African players are there but you have to look at things like technique‚ match intelligence and commitment.”