Beleaguered Bafana Bafana coach Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba has been asked by his employers to step aside from his job after he disrespected his boss‚ South African Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan‚ in the full glare of the television cameras in Polokwane on Saturday.
Mashaba’s assistant‚ Owen da Gama‚ will be on the bench when Bafana face Mozambique in a friendly international at the 45 000-seater Estadio do Zimpeto in Maputo on Tuesday.
Mashaba‚ who has often been likened to tactless US president-elect Donald Trump‚ wagged an accusing finger at Jordaan in an ill-advised move on camera after Bafana beat Senegal 2-1 in a crunch 2018 World Cup qualifier on Saturday.
The Bafana coach – who is at times a public relations nightmare and a handful for the long-suffering Safa communications department – said the Safa president had not supported him when he needed support the most during the most trying times over the past few months.
Jordaan and Safa CEO Dennis Mumble were astonished by the very public attack and show of disrespect and moved swiftly to suspend the errant Bafana coach.
In a statement sent by Mumble to the Safa national executive committee members on Sunday‚ the Safa CEO said he had to institute disciplinary action against Mashaba after “the unpleasant events” that unfolded after the game.
“Following some unpleasant events after the match of the men’s senior national team (Bafana Bafana) at Peter Mokaba Stadium yesterday‚ I had to meet with head coach‚ Ephraim Mashaba today (Sunday) to commence disciplinary steps against him‚” Mumble said in the statement.
“As a result of yesterday’s events‚ I was forced to place the head coach on suspension with immediate effect pending a full disciplinary hearing.
“As has been policy in matters involving staff discipline‚ we will not respond to media enquiries except for issuing a brief statement to alert the public to the absence of the head coach from the bench for Tuesday’s friendly match against the Mozambican men’s senior national team.
“This is necessary to safeguard the dignity of the head coach and the Association in this process.
“Coach Mashaba has however asked that we convey to the NEC‚ and the president of the Association‚ in particular‚ his sincerest apologies if he has offended anyone and he unreservedly asked for forgiveness for (Saturday’s actions.”
Perhaps Mashaba gave a hint of what was to come at the post match press conference on Saturday when he said his team’s World Cup qualifying win against Senegal was a “second lease of life”.
The gathered gallery assumed that he was referring to the media and critical fans who have been disapproving of his regime since Bafana failed to qualify for the 2017 African Nations Cup in June.
But his venom was seemingly aimed at the Safa president and he had not forgotten Jordaan’s criticism after Bafana were held to a lacklustre 1-1 draw by Mauritania in a dead rubber at Mbombela Stadium‚ Mpumalanga‚ in September.
“This must be the end of the journey‚ not the beginning because this cannot lead us into the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign where we will meet the giants of the African continent‚” Jordaan said in a post match interview.
“What we saw tonight was disappointing. We had a goal given to us through a penalty. We had numerous opportunities‚ but we cannot talk about the same things.”
Mashaba had clearly not forgotten that and he said on Saturday his last rites were administered by Jordaan after that draw with Mauritania.
“What does this win (against Senegal) mean to me? It’s a second lease of life. I was dead already‚” the coach mused afterwards in the post-match press conference.”
– TMG Digital