Shakes Mashaba warns Safa to urgently appoint an SA U-23 coach

Former under-23 head coach Owen Da Gama.
Former under-23 head coach Owen Da Gama.
Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Former Bafana Bafana and national Under-23 coach Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba is worried that the South Africa Football Association (Safa) have not yet appointed a coach for the U-23s with a month to go before their Olympic qualifier against Angola.

The South African Olympic team has been without a coach for more than a year since the departure Owen Da Gama‚ who joined Highlands Park‚ and they begin their qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games against Angola in the second round next month.

If the South Africans beat Angola‚ they will meet either Zimbabwe or Eswatini/Mozambique in the final round for passage to the 2019 U-23 Africa Cup of Nations‚ where the top there teams will qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo‚ Japan.

“This is a sensitive issue because you will never know what is happening at Safa but it is worrying that we don’t have a coach so close to the Olympic qualifiers‚” Mashaba said.

“By this time we should have played one or two friendly games to prepare for the qualifiers.

“Some people will say Amajita [the SA U-20s] must graduate to the U23s but the question is‚ are they ready for that responsibility?

“U-20 and U-23 are two different levels and my advice to Safa is to get coaches as soon as possible and let them start with preparations.

“Let them play one or two games together. We must get away from this thing of selecting a team today and send them to a competition tomorrow and expect miracles from these boys.”

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