Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba said part of his reconstruction process is to bring pride back to the Senior Men’s National Team which he said had been dented of late.
South Africa walloped Sudan 3-0 in their opening CAF Orange Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers raising the nation’s hopes again after years of below par performances by the national team.
Friday’s win comes in the backdrop of the U20 qualifying for the CAF Youth championships which will be played in Senegal next year after beating African powerhouse Cameroon 2-1 in Polokwane to complete a 3-2 aggregate win.
Mashaba said for an absolute change of culture, Bafana Bafana as the torchbearers had to lead the way.
“Of late, Bafana Bafana had become a laughing stock and had lost credit within the football standing and we need to restore that acclaim. We must bring back the pride to our national team and I am glad with the 3-0 win away from home. It is a beginning of that rebuilding process,” said Mashaba.
The Bafana Bafana mentor who left the U20 position to concentrate on the Senior Team said the 3-0 win over Sudan was a great platform to build good things.
“Once we weathered the storm in the opening minutes in which they pumped long balls upfront, I knew we would achieve our goal of coming away with three points. And the boys stuck to the script.
“In the second half, we completely dominated the game and with clinical finishing, the scoreline could have been 6, 7 or 8. But the 3-0 win is quite encouraging and we need to maintain the momentum.”
Although Dean Furman and Andile Jali controlled the midfield with aplomb, while upfront Sibusiso Vilakazi who came in a second half substitute for Tokelo Rantie scored two important goals, Mashaba refused to single out any individuals for praise.
“I think the entire team played well and it will be unfair to single out individuals. It was a great team effort and I think all players deserve praise.”
Bafana Bafana arrived back in the country on Saturday morning and proceeded straight to Cape Town to start preparing for the game against Nigeria scheduled for Wednesday at Cape Town Stadium.
“We are meeting our nemesis but my gut feel is that all that (losing against African champions) is about to change. Wednesday should be a defining moment,” he said.