Mashaba named new Bafana coach
Mashaba named new Bafana coach

Posted in News on Jul 30, 2002.

Less than 24 hours before officially taking over as the new Bafana Bafana coach, Ephraim 'Shakes' Mashaba was already talking about his ambitions, which were more than just about winning matches.

Mashaba was officially unveiled to the press as the new national coach on Wednesday but will only start his duties on Thursday. He takes over from Jomo Sono, who led the team to the 2002 World Cup finals in Japan and South Korea.

His mandate, SA Football Association (Safa) president Molefi Oliphant said, was to win matches. Mashaba has to qualify the team and win the 2004 African Nations Cup. Not that he was bothered by this challenge, as he appeared to have a plan in store.

Mashaba talked like a shrewd businessman, if not a marketing guru, as he addressed questions from the media. “We might not agree but you will realise that for a long time we have not performed well as a nation,” he said.

The poor results, Mashaba said, contributed to the dwindling crowds at Bafana Bafana games.

"My top priority is to restore the image of football in general in the country,” said Mashaba. “But that is going to require the support of everyone in this country. We need to make this brand (Bafana Bafana) marketable.

"We need to ensure that this team wins matches and we need to inculcate the culture of excellence among the players for if we do not have that kind of attitude, we will always settle for second best,” Mashaba warned.

Mashaba has tasted great success with the national under-23 side, Amaglug-glug, taking them to the 2000 Olympics with former Ria Stars coach Kenny Ndlazi, his second in command, and leading them to a famous victory over Brazil. He will be hoping for the same feat at the higher level.

"As soon as we have that culture of excellence then we can start winning games, qualifying for finals and going on to win the finals,” stressed Mashaba.

This time he will be assisted by another former Ria Stars coach, Styles Phumo, with Golden Arrows coach Khabo Zondo helping out from time to time. Mashaba warmly welcomed the appointment of Phumo and Zondo. “Two heads are better than one,” Mashaba said.

"The selection of players to the national team has been a burning and tricky issue and we need to realise that we call players from different teams in different regions. It will be important to stay in touch with all the role-players in various teams to make the right selections into the national team.”

Mashaba, according to his boss Oliphant, will not have to deal with any outside influences as he moulds his Bafana Bafana side. “He will have total and absolute control of that team,” Oliphant emphasised.

Mashaba's contract will be effective from August 1, 2002, until December 2004.

The 52-year-old Mashaba will be in charge of the national team for the third time in his coaching career. He wasat the helm back in 1992 when he helped Bafana to a 1-0 win over Congo, and again in 2001 against Mozambique in the Cosafa Castle Cup, which Bafana won 3-0.

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