'Shakes' on a roll with juniors
EPHRAIM "Shakes" Mashaba has a history of success with South African junior national teams in continental and qualifying for major global competitions.
First Mashaba coached Amajita to the 1997 African Youth Championships, where they lost 1-0 to hosts Morocco in the final. They went on to qualify for their only World Youth Championships final that year.
In 2000, the former Moroka Swallows and Orlando Pirates defender made history again by taking the Under-23 national side to their first Olympics - where they walloped the Ronaldinho-led Brazil 3-1.
That was the last time the men's soccer team qualified for the Olympics.
Now Mashaba is on another mission - to take Majimbos to the 2013 African Under-17 Championships finals after causing a major upset by eliminating Zambia from the qualifiers with a 1-0 win in Lusaka on Sunday. Pirates development player Siyanda Ngcobo scored the all-important goal.
The sides played to a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Dobsonville two weeks ago, where Mashaba made a commitment to embarrass Zambia in their own backyard.
Mashaba could not be reached for comment yesterday, but Ngcobo attributed their success to teamwork.
"It feels good to have scored the goal but we worked as a team. Zambia have done well in youth and senior teams; we knew it was going to be a tough match," he said.
"Now that Zambia are out of our way, we feel more confident going into the second round. This team has the potential to go all the way to the finals but we have to keep on working hard. All we need is to spend more time together as a team and we will be unstoppable."