Former Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
JOHANNESBURG - As South Africa welcome Cape Verde in the return leg of their 2018 World Cup qualifier in Durban on Tuesday, former Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba believes it is important that the national team do away with ego and take the opposition a little more seriously.

Mashaba is of the view that Bafana's 2-1 defeat by the Blue Sharks last weekend had a lot to do with attitude than ability.

“This is typical of South African thinking,” Mashaba said, “They only talk about Nigeria and Cameroon. And once you start mentioning countries like Burkina Faso, they say to you ‘Who is Burkina Faso?' I don’t know why we always do that. We need to stop doing that, really.."

Mashaba feels Bafana allowed their egos to let them underestimate their opponents who, according to the Caf rankings, are 17 places below them.

The Blue Sharks, who are No 30 on the rankings, picked up on that egocentric energy and ran Bafana ragged to produce their first win of their 2018 World Cup qualifiers in their last three outings.

“If you look at that match,” Mashaba added, “We should have scored at least three or four goals in the first 25 minutes. However, it was quite unfortunate that we didn’t and they gradually picked up momentum as the match progressed. 

"We scored early and went to sleep afterwards. Cape Verde came back and were able to score two goals after we had taken the lead. They were not the best of goals ...”

It is this failure to punish opponents who are considered lowly that cost South Africa qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Back in 2013 Bafana, under coach Gordon Igesund then, were pitted in a group in which they were counted as favourites to go through.

However, two early 1-1 draws against both Ethiopia and Botswana saw them miss out on that chance with a two point gap. A 2-1 defeat against Ethiopia, who finished top of that group in their last game of the group fixtures. was the death knell.

The last time the senior national side qualified for the global showpiece was back in 2002 under Carlos Quieroz 's guidance although Jomo Sono coached the side at the finals.

Mashaba stressed that South Africa cannot continue with this attitude.

“With these kinds of matches, you’ve got to make sure that you win your home games. The other two sides in our group (Senegal and Burkino Faso) played to a 0-0 draw and that means we cannot afford to produce any more draws,” Mashaba said. “We have to make sure that we win, no matter what the cost ....”

The Star

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