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Give Shakes Mashaba his Bafana job back‚ says Jerry Sikhosana

Former Bafana Bafana head coach Ephraim "Shakes" Mashaba.
Former Bafana Bafana head coach Ephraim "Shakes" Mashaba.
Image: BackpagePix

Former Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates striker Jerry “Legs of Thunder” Sikhosana has appealed to the South African Football Association (Safa) to consider giving Ephraim "Shakes" Mashaba his job back.

Beleaguered Bafana coach Stuart Baxter failed to qualify the national team to next year’s World Cup in Russia after back-to-back defeats to Senegal and Sikhosana said he would support any attempts to get Mashaba back.

“I wish and I will support a move to have Bra Shakes (Mashaba) back as the head coach of our national team‚" Sikhosana said without mincing his words.

"Looking at the way the boys were committed and playing under him‚ you could tell we were heading in the right direction until he was fired.

"In my honest opinion we had the best coach in Bra Shakes and he understood the players and they wanted to play for him‚” said Sikhosana‚ who represented Bafana Bafana at the 1998 World Cup in France.

“We had our format with Bra Shakes but he was sacked because of problems that did not have much to do with football and it was more administrative.

"I feel pity for our current players who had to go through this transition‚ which is very difficult".

Mashaba was suspended in November last year after he furiously wagged his finger at senior Safa officials — who included president Danny Jordaan and CEO Dennis Mumble — after Bafana beat Senegal 2-1 in a 2018 World Cup qualifier at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.

He was sacked a month later for “gross misconduct and violation of the Safa's communications policy”.

He still had a year left on his contract‚ which was due to run until the end of the 2018 Russia World Cup in July next year‚ and Bafana were very much in the running to secure a place at the tournament when he was shown the door.

The outspoken Sikhosana said if Safa officials are not able to get Mashaba back‚ they should replace incumbent Baxter with a local coach rather than with a foreign mentor.

"We need a local coach because the statistics are there to prove that local coaches have been successful with our national team‚" he said.

"I was happy with the way the team was playing under Bra Shakes.

"Of course we can’t rule out modern football but we are South Africans and it is difficult to adjust to Asian‚ European or South American styles.”

When Mashaba was sacked last year‚ some South African fans pleaded with Safa to give BidVest Wits coach Gavin Hunt a chance to lead the national team.

But Safa opted for Briton Baxter instead.

“He (Hunt) has done well at club level‚" Sikhosana said.

"Pitso Mosimane had the same thing but when you bring in a local coach our officials will always want to step on top of his head and tell him what they want him to do because they see local coaches as soft targets.

"That was the problem with Bra Shakes.

"Politics were involved because he did not want to take anything that he was told.

"If Gavin gets the nod‚ it is going to be difficult‚ but a local coach is the way to go for me.”

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