Local coaches should learn from single-minded ‘Shakes’



There is some ‘Sir Alex Ferguson’ trait in the 2015 soccer Africa Cup of Nations bound, Bafana Bafana Coach, Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba.

Like the legendary former Manchester United Manager, he is his own man, known by those close to him to be religiously disciplined and someone who demands the same from his squad of players.  To him no one is bigger than the team. Ask Thulani Serero, who plays for Ajax Amsterdam, a team with an illustrious record of UEFA trophies. Serero has been dropped after inexplicably rebuffing a call to the training camp. Thus shakes for you drawing the line!

In assembling a new-look squad, Shakes has candidly rejected any attempts by influential soccer bosses to influence his team selection. Past reputations or being part of one of the big three teams – Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns – does not guarantee a place in the squad like it previously did. Opinions from soccer agents who profit from selling players to European clubs, biased soccer journalists or fans do not make him sway his position an inch.

Now, his decision to cull the team of players who had been guaranteed a place irrespective of their form on the field of play has been vindicated. As this article is being posted online, the team is headed for the 2015 African Cup of Nations which will be held in Equatorial Guinea. It last qualified for the tournament in 2008.

Shakes’ discipline and knack for risk taking in roping in new blood, backed by two or three players offering invaluable experience, is a template for local soccer coaches aspiring for success. He has not veered off the principles that that made him cross paths with SAFA administrators during his first stint ten years ago.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.