Bafana Bafana will again this month take on a mission to rescue their 2017 Africa Cup Of Nations campaign, which is hanging by the thinnest of threads after a few bad results to begin with. South Africa will take on Cameroon away on the 26th of March, and immediately come back home to face the same side at Moses Mabhida Stadium three days later. Failure to achieve positive results in the two legs will see the dreams of travelling to Gabon next year all but go up in smoke, something coach Shakes Mashaba was actually hired for.
One man who know exactly how Mashaba feels right now is Pitso Mosimane of Mamelodi Sundowns. His days in the Bafana hot seat seem a long time ago now with his recent success at club level. Mosimane’s Sundowns looks the sure bet to win the Absa Premiership title this season, and this would make it their second in just three campaigns.
It is perhaps for this reason that he feels a few of his players should get the nod next week Thursday when Mashaba names the squad to do duty. He says: ‘That would be nice. That would mean the players are rewarded. We normally don’t have players in Bafana. We only have Zungu. So it would be nice to see some guys rewarded.’ The outspoken coach and his technical team were left with eggs on their faces when they infamously got the rules completely wrong and incorrectly left the nation thinking the team had qualified for the 2012 showpiece in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. Bafana did qualify for the 2015 tournament in Mashaba’s early days, but Pitso has urged him to look to the high-flying Chroorkop side if he’s to get to the finals again.
He says: ‘Yes, I’m punting for my players. I’ll never be shy to punt for them. And I think at this point in time Hlompho Kekana is the best central midfielder in the country. Ok we don’t see what Jali is doing on the other side, and we know he’s quality. But if you’re looking at home, Hlompho has shown he can play against anybody.’ To his credit, Jingles has always pledged his support for the national team since being sacked in favour of Gordon Igesund. He says the nation now has to rally behind the team and support the coach: ‘Bra Shakes is in the right space now. The turnaround was the South American tour. Let’s forget about what happened in the first game with the Mauritania game. These things happen in football. He’s got the right team. For me once a Bafana, always a Bafana.’
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