JOHANNESBURG – Former Bafana Bafana coach Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba has urged his successor Stuart Baxter to stop the acts of favouritism in the national team.
Mashaba, a hot-headed man, called Baxter into line after he vacated the Bafana post two years ago due to numerous fall-outs with the media and the majority of European-based players – some of whom refused to honour national team call-ups unless they were guaranteed starting berths.
As a patriot who now sees the national team from the eye of a “supporter”, Mashaba is not pleased with the manner in which Baxter is going about his business.
“I think number one, something that’s going to make us win (the crucial Afcon qualifiers against Libya) is to stop favouritism,” said the current Witbank Spurs coach.
“As a coach, work with your technical team. Number two; stop playing when you are told that we are good to play without a certain player.
“Sit on the grandstand, and watch players play. I’d like to say to the current coach (Baxter), do things with an open and inquiring mind.”
When Kamohelo Mokotjo (Brentford FC, England) retired from international football due to lack of game time in 2016, and Thulani Serero (Vitesse Arnhem, Holland) were omitted from the national team due to “ill-discipline”, Mashaba was happy to be continue without them.
Enter Baxter. The Englishman was having none of Mashaba’s approach, and recalled Mokotjo and Serero to the national team.
“With the current situation, there are players who do not deserve to be in the national team, I don’t care what people say. But they are there, but how? I don’t know,” Mashaba said.
“There are players who deserve to be in the team and they are not there. I used to say if you think you good or the best for the team, and you don’t want to play, then it’s fine.
“I had the mentality that, in the absence of the best, make the worst (the) best.”
Bafana Bafana & Paraguay played to a 1-1 draw in the Nelson Mandela Challenge match at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Tuesday pic.twitter.com/Jh5tMUOQ7y— Bafana Bafana (@BafanaBafana) November 21, 2018
Although Mashaba might have not had his way with some of the so-called “superstars”, he exploited his father-figure attributes to players such as Thamsanqa Gabuza – who’s been a victim of the “Boo-Boys”.
Gabuza was Mashaba’s go-to-guy in the striker department, as he’s physique allowed him to match Africa’s gigantic defenders.
“When you come to football, don’t come with your agendas or allowed to be told a certain player is not good enough," Mashaba said.
“We used to keep Gabuza in the national team... we told him straight what we expected from him, and nothing else. After that, he can do anything, and he listened.”
The wheels came off!
“I was disappointed about the Pirates coach (Milutin Sredojevic) when Gabuza was doing what he was doing,” Mashaba said of an incident when Gabuza ranted at the supporters for their booing antics in Polokwane.
“He (Sredojevic) comes out on the television ‘He’s Out of Order’! What kind of a coach are you, killing a player like that?”
Baxter’s best way to silence his naysayers such as Mashaba is qualifying for the Afcon that will be staged in Egypt in June.@Mihlalibaleka