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Mashaba is Bucs' head honcho

By unknown | Jul 24, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Sipho Mthembu

Sipho Mthembu

Nothing is impossible in soccer, they say, but few would have expected that to extend to a truce between sworn enemies Irvin Khoza, the Orlando Pirates boss, and former Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba.

In fact, the two yesterday went a step beyond making peace and will be fighting from the same corner in the new Premier Soccer League season.

This after Mashaba was appointed Pirates team manager, taking over from ailing Phil Setshedi.

Khoza and Mashaba had not been the best of friends since the latter's tenure as Bafana Bafana head coach between August 2002 and January 2004.

Their first serious tiff was in May 2003 when Mashaba announced a depleted Bafana Bafana team to face England in a friendly promoting the 2010 World Cup Bid.

He was asked to step aside and Khoza (then a Safa vice-president), on behalf of caretaker coach Jomo Sono, announced a team that included foreign-based stars such as Lucas Radebe, Shaun Bartlett and Benni McCarthy, who had been excluded.

When Mashaba was eventually fired on the eve of the team's departure for the 2004 African Cup of Nations in Tunisia, Khoza broke the news.

However yesterday, the tone was conciliatory all-round.

"Whatever happened back then, happened for a reason. When the sun sets we all head for home. I am heading for the sunset of my football career and I think it is good to round it off where it all started. I am grateful for the trust the chairman has shown in me.

"Pirates are a big brand and I am aware of the challenge that lies ahead," Mashaba said.

Mashaba feels Pirates have been yearning for a combination of strong characters like his and coach Bibey Mutombo.

"I know some will jump to predict it won't work, but I am sure we are all aware of the bigger picture. Watch the bomb that will come out of this combination," Mashaba predicted.

Said Khoza: "I know Shakes is a good administrator whose expertise will add value to the team."

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