Johannesburg – A few hours after being named the new Bafana Bafana coach starting in September, Ephraim 'Shakes' Mashaba was forced to endure a 1-0 loss of his South African under 20 side to Mali on Saturday.
The current under 20 coach, however, was not fazed by the result in their preparation for the 2015 African Youth Championships qualifiers against Cameroon in August.
“It was another opportunity to expose the players to the conditions on the continent,” said Mashaba after the match at the Stade Modibo Keita in Bamako, Mali.
“If you look at the first half nothing was happening because of the heavy rain and the pitch was badly affected.
“At some stage I thought the referee was going to stop the match because I was already starting to worry about injuries to the players.”
The team's tour of West Africa had been difficult for the players according to Mashaba.
“Perhaps the travelling and matches every three or four days is starting to take its toll, and you cannot blame them, but it was a good exposure.
“The loss is not a train smash as it is part of preparations and helps us fix our problem areas.”
The South Africans travel to Senegal later on Sunday to prepare for a match with the hosts on Wednesday.
In the first of four matches, Amajita drew 1-1 with Burkina Faso in Ouagadougou last week.
South Africa will face Ivory Coast in their last match of the tour of August 4 before returning home the following day. – Sapa