JOHANNESBURG – Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba has made peace with how things ended with his former employers Safa, and has even backed Bafana Bafana to do well in their 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifier tie against Cape Verde on Friday.
Mashaba, who was axed not so long ago after Safa felt that he brought the association into disrepute – following his public outburst against them in Bafana’s 2-1 win over Senegal in a World Cup qualifier last year – said he had all the confidence in the world that Bafana would do well in both legs against the Blue Sharks.
“I’m very much behind the team. It’s quite unfortunate that I do not have the latest Bafana jersey. If someone can donate it to me then, I would gladly wear it,” Mashaba said with a chuckle on Tuesday.
“Nothing has changed, really. I’m still a South African. I cannot find myself in a situation where I’m working against the national team.
“My family and I are fully behind them. I remember, not so long ago, when we beat Nigeria (in a World Cup qualifier). My family and I were all cheering for them.
“But what was important for me, though, was I looked around as to see on whether they were pretending or just genuinely happy that the squad had won.
“And they all were. I was pleased by that. And we wish them all the best of luck (for these two match-ups).”
Mashaba was speaking at the Nedbank Ke Yona Challenge press conference in Sandton ahead of Sunday’s clash between SuperSport United and the Ke Yona team at Makhulong Stadium.
The former Bafana coach also warned that those desired two victories against the Blue Sharks won’t come that easy, as they are most likely to be fired up to cause an upset against Stuart Baxter’s charges.
“It’s going to be a very tough match and it’s very important that we do not take it lightly,” Mashaba said.
“And the reason why I say that it’s because I’ve heard people saying that we have a good record playing away from home, and I do totally agree with that.
“But the only challenge we are going to face there is that the lads will be playing on an artificial turf. The other challenge is that of the weather and the fans.
“But I do believe that coach Stuart (has already come up with a plan to ensure that they overcome those challenges).
“We must get six points here,” Mashaba added. “I’m not saying that we are going to qualify for the 2018 Fifa World Cup, but I do believe that we can go all the way and win it (the World Cup) as well.
“There’s always a first for everything in life, and that is why I’m saying that the boys should make sure that we qualify, and everything will fall into place.”