Local News 6.9.2016 09:58 am

Dolly defends embattled Bafana coach

Keagan Dolly. (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images)

Keagan Dolly. (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images)

Keagan Dolly says Bafana’s players must take their share of the blame, as Shakes Mashaba continues to come under fire for the side’s failure to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

Even South African Football Association president Danny Jordaan openly slammed South Africa’s performance after the 1-1 draw with Mauritania on Friday, leading to speculation that Mashaba’s future could be in doubt, ahead of the start of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers next month.

Bafana face Egypt this evening in the Nelson Mandela Challenge, with Mashaba appearing badly in need of a morale-boosting win in the face of mounting public criticism.

“It (the criticism) makes us feel bad,” said Dolly, who should play against the Pharaohs this evening after recovering from a hamstring injury.

“The coach and technical staff believed in us, that is the reason they called us up, so we also need to take the blame. We are the ones on the playing field who are not converting our chances. We stand together and will always support the coach and hopefully things will change.”

Mashaba, meanwhile, said he had received no communication from Safa about whether this Egypt game was any kind of last chance for him in the Bafana hot-seat.

“I don’t read newspapers,” claimed the Bafana coach.

“If someone wanted to tell me something they would have come to me.

“Criticism is always there,” he added.

“If you are eating, people tell you you are eating too much, I have learned to live with that. People say the team didn’t play well but they don’t elaborate. If you came to the training session, you would see everyone is flying, but then when you get to the game it is a different story.”

Mashaba’s main complaint has always been Bafana’s failure to convert their chances – just one goal at home in three 2017 Afcon qualifiers attests to that.

“Look at the game against Mauritania, how many times we went into their goal area, even close to the goalline, but we couldn’t bury it, that is the biggest problem, where we find ourselves wanting,” he said.

Dolly could bring some extra spice in attack – it was the Sundowns midfielder, after all, who propelled Bafana to a 4-0 thumping of The Gambia in June, with two spectacular strikes.

“We can only hope he repeats the feat – hopefully he can score a hat trick,” said Mashaba.

“He will bring something that could bring a change in terms of scoring goals.”

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