Mashaba shakes Swazis

Richard Nkosi

Richard Nkosi

The National Football Association of Swaziland (NFAS) yesterday mandated newly appointed national head coach Ephraim "Shakes" Mashaba to come up with a competitive squad.

Mashaba was officially handed a two-year contract yesterday with an option to renew.

The former South Africa under-23 and senior national soccer team coach took over after a role in an acting capacity since May. He replaced Raoul Savoy of Switzerland who was fired following a poor run of results.

Bomber Mthethwa, NFAS president, said in Mashaba they believe they have chosen the right candidate to lead the iSihlangu Semnikati, the Swaziland national soccer squad, to glory.

"The nation loves him, us likewise. His record in the short spell of time he has been in charge has proved that we must not look far," he said.

Under Mashaba, the tiny kingdom's team has played three games, wining one, drawing one and losing the other.

These results see Swaziland continuing to lead the 2010 World-Africa Nations Cup qualifiers' Group 11 on four points, level with Zambia but with a better goal difference.

Togo are bottom of the three-team group on three points after two games played, with one match in hand.

Only one team from Group 11 will qualify for the Afcon finals and the final World Cup group qualifying stage. Togo host Swaziland on October 10 in the last pool game.

Mashaba will get involved with the national junior teams when the iSihlangu Semnikati are not playing. Swaziland has a vision for the 2014 World Cup.

Mashaba is sharpening his team for the upcoming Cosafa Cup tournament, which will feature 14 countries in the region that will be played in Mpumalanga from July 17 to August 3. He could not be reached for comment yesterday.