African Cup Of Nations: South African Coach Threatens To Clip Super Eagle’s Wings-Shakes Mashaba, South Africa’s Bafana Bafana Coach, has assured home fans that his team would deflate the ego of Nigeria’s Super Eagles after booking a 2-1 over the dreaded Sudan national team at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.
The coach has dismissed any thoughts of taking the Super Eagles’ duel lightly in their final group qualifier coming up on Wednesday, claiming Bafana Bafana would feature its best team that would walk over Nigeria.
With the Sudanese pull-down, the team has boosted its chance of appearing in 2015 African Cup of Nations tournament holding in Equatorial Guinea in 2015, and Shakes Mashaba said taking Nigeria lightly tantamount to holding a rope on the neck for a suicide mission.
The 2-1 win over Sudan has boosted the team’s ego and the next encounter on Wednesday would seal its dream of a place in Equitorial Guinea.
The South African team is guaranteed top spot in Group A – meaning the result against the Super Eagles is of no consequence for Mashaba’s side – but the coach has ruled out any thoughts of losing competitive focus and says the winning tide has to go on even though there is more at stake.
“I would like to say congratulations to the players, [but] we are still left with one game, against Nigeria,” Mashaba said.
“I know people will think it is going to be a walkover. No!. We are going to put out our best team. It is more than three points at stake when we go to Nigeria”.
He continues: “It’s going to be another tough game like the one we played today, which many thought was going to be easy. Thanks to all the supporters, their presence helped us conquer.”
After an emotional few weeks following the death of Senzo Meyiwa and a lot of technical issues to deal with on the pitch, Mashaba says he’s pleased that the team executed what was practiced in training.
“The biggest problem is scoring goals. When we lose the ball, we struggle to get it back.”
Bafana next head to Nigeria for their final group game and while the match is essentially a dead rubber with regards to qualification, it will still determine whether or not South Africa finish on top of their group
South Africa have still never beaten Nigeria in a competitive male senior international match, and Mashaba is determined to wipe out the dent on South Africa’s ego, and put his name on record as dwarfing Nigeria’s pride over the country.
With one eye on next year’s AFCOM, Mashaba knows the hard work must continue and revealed his mission for the tournament.
“It was good to revive the good old memories of qualifying. [But] we are not going to Equatorial Guinea to make up the numbers. We have to go there and compete, and bring back our image as one of the good teams on the continent,” he added.
The South African born coach, who had played as a member of the country’s national team is determined to take South Africa to unimaginable level, a task he sees as a big challenge to the bad image the team has in the mind of its numerous fans.
He said: “The Nigeria game will not only be about qualification because in the first game [a 0-0 home draw in September] we should have beaten them so that means it’s going to be war.”
South Africa’s AFCON qualification came as a huge tribute to the former captain and goalkeeper, Senzo Meyiwa who died recently after being shot during a burglary. He had visited his girl friend house in Vosloorus, south of Johannesburg where some assailants attacked him and his girlfriend shooting him at close range and fleeing.
The player held in high honour and described by his agent as a humble man from a tough background was an household name in South Africa, becoming a “hero in everyone’s eyes”.
The 27-year-old played for the home team, Orlando Pirates as a goalkeeper and had played in South Africa’s last four Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
On Saturday, he was in action for his club, when they progressed to the semi-finals of the South African League Cup, beating Ajax Cape Town 4-1.
He was buried early in the month as with thousands of weeping South Africans wearing red or black football jerseys bade him farewell at a packed stadium in the Indian Ocean city of Durban.
Meanwhile, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has picked Rajindraparsad Seechurn of Mauritius as referee for Wednesday’s 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between Nigeria and South Africa in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Seechurn will be assisted by countrymen, Balkrishna Bootun as Assistant Referee 1, Vivian Vally as Assistant Referee 2 and Parmendra Nunkoo as Reserve Referee.
To underscore the importance of the match, CAF has appointed Cameroonian Abel Mbengue as Security Officer, to assist the Match Commissioner, Laryea Louis, from Ghana.
Seechurn started his career in 1996 and reached the first grade for referees in 2001.
He has also taken charge of matches for the African Federation and since 2004 he has been an international referee.
He was at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and has previously refereed in the 2010 and 2012 of the tournament.