28 July 2014
Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba has been named the new Bafana Bafana coach, more than 20 years after he first took the reigns of the South African national football team.
Mashaba was previously in charge of the team as caretaker coach for one match in October 1992, the same year that South Africa was accepted into the international fold. He later took over as Bafana Bafana’s full-time coach in August 2002.
It had been speculated that either former South African national coach Carlos Quieroz, who most recently led Iran at the 2014 Fifa World Cup, or Stephen Keshi, who was in charge of Nigeria at Brazil 2014 and led the Super Eagles to the Africa Cup of Nations title in South Africa in 2013, would be appointed to the position, but in the end the South African Football Association (Safa) decided to go with a local coach.
Mashaba, 63, who succeeds Gordon Igesund, was not present at Saturday’s announcement in Johannesburg because he is currently on tour with the South African national under-20 team in West Africa.
‘A proven track record’
“He has a proven record, is a hard worker and he fulfilled all the requirements we were looking for to drive our senior national team back to where we all believe they belong – at the top,” Safa president Danny Jordaan told the media.
Mashaba released a statement, saying he was relishing the challenge and the expectations of the entire nation.
‘A massive, but exciting test’
“First of all, I would like to thank the Safa NEC [national executive committee] for the confidence that they have demonstrated in me. This is a massive but exciting test. I am elated and ready for the challenge,” he said.
“I will do all my best to bring back the winning mentality within Bafana Bafana. With the support of all South Africans, the goal of taking Bafana Bafana back to the top is very achievable.
“The good thing about this job is that I have a clear idea of what I need to do, but will first meet the Safa leadership to agree additional performance terms.
“I will also take the opportunity to meet all the stakeholders and address the media on the way forward,” he added.
Mashaba also said he hoped he would be allowed to complete the qualification process for the African Youth Championships with the national under-20 team, known as the Amajita. They are set to face Cameroon in Yaounde on 16 August, with the return leg taking place in South Africa two weeks later.
Bafana Bafana’s next match is an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Sudan on the weekend of 5-7 September in Khartoum.
South Africa is currently ranked 66th in the world and 14th in Africa.