Can Shakes find a path to AFCON 2015?

Shake up: The new Bafana coach is set to name a new technical team.

New Bafana coach Ephraim Shakes Mashaba has said he will name his technical team this week, as the time before Bafana Bafana’s African Nations Cup 2015 qualifiers against Sudan and Nigeria gets narrower and narrower.

Whatever bench the new Bafana coach puts together, the task ahead of them is a daunting one. The South African Football Associations says there is no mandate for Mashaba to qualify for the African Nations Cup in Morocco next year.

But the new man in charge is wily and experienced enough to know that for all that he is tasked with building a team for the future, results in the now still matter.

A poor result in Khartoum against Sudan will merely heap the pressure on Mashaba in the very early stages of his new reign. On the other side of the coin, what a major statement it would be for Mashaba, if he can qualify the team for the Nations Cup, something no Bafana coach has managed since Carlos Alberto Parreira got the side – by the skin of their teeth – to Ghana 2008.

Mashaba, of course, qualified Bafana for the 2004 Nations Cup in Tunisia, before being sacked by Safa ahead of the tournament. This time, though, he doesn’t have quite the pedigree of player he had back then. A finish in the top two of a group containing Sudan, Nigeria, and now Congo-Brazzaville (following the expulsion of Rwanda) should not be beyond even a 2014-edition Bafana.

Bafana, however, have a habit of failing to meet expectations. Can Mashaba change that? In today’s Phakaaathi, free with a copy of the Citizen, Mashaba explains why he intends to name a large squad for the upcoming qualifiers. We also feature Kaizer Chiefs, who have made a pulsating start to the season, as well as so much more from the fascinating world of South African soccer.

When you get your copy of Phakaaathi, don’t forget to enter our fantastic competition on page 11. Collect all 11 cards of your favourite PSL team’s players and stand a chance to win fabulous prizes.

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