Friday Nov 17, 2017. 12:30
Legendary South African striker Jerry Sikhosana says Ephraim 'Shakes' Mashaba should be rehired as Bafana Bafana head coach.
The former Orlando Pirates marksman, who is retired, was speaking to Sowetan after South Africa failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals which will be hosted by Russia.
Bafana suffered back-to-back defeats to Senegal their last two qualifiers under the guidance of British trainer Stuart Baxter, who replaced Mashaba last May.
“I wish and I will support a move to have Bra Shakes (Mashaba) back as the head coach of our national team‚" Sikhosana said.
"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‚" he added.
“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 South African Football Association (SAFA) officials, who included president Danny Jordaan and chief executive officer Dennis Mumble.
This was after Bafana beat Senegal 2-1 in a qualifier at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane. Mashaba was sacked a month later for “gross misconduct and violation of the Safa's communications policy”.
The South African tactician 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.
"We need a local coach because the statistics are there to prove that local coaches have been successful with our national team. I was happy with the way the team was playing under Bra Shakes," he continued.
"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 four-time Absa Premiership title winning coach Gavin Hunt a chance to lead the national team. But SAFA opted for Baxter instead.
“He (Hunt) has done well at club level‚" Sikhosana‚ who represented Bafana Bafana at the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France, 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.”