Shakes Mashaba: I am not a quitter
The 65-year-old says he is far from hitting the panic button and that South Africans should be calm.
JOHANNESBURG - The turmoil surrounding Bafana Bafana and their disappointing loss to Mauritania in Saturday's Afcon 2017 qualifier seems to have caused a bigger stir than initially thought, as head coach Shakes Mashaba found himself still answering questions about it on Tuesday night, even when the topic of discussion was his side's 1-0 win over Senegal in the Nelson Mandela Challenge.
That 3-1 loss to Mauritania has left the national team in a precarious position as they face the growing possibility of missing out on the 2017 Cup of Nations, having only picked up a single point from a possible six.
What's added fuel to the fire is that very little was known about the Mauritanians and admittedly, very little research was done by the South Africans on their opponents, leaving them exposed that afternoon.
With everything that's happened over the last couple of days and with all the mounting pressure that Mashaba faces, the 65-year-old has remained steadfast, saying that he is far from hitting the panic button and that the rest of the country should also be calm.
When asked if he had ever considered vacating his position following Saturday night's hiding, Mashaba, with a very cool and collected demeanour, responded with, "I am not a quitter, make no mistake, I am not a quitter. That is why I went to by a new jacket, to look more new and young. Because I know most of you thought I'll come with grey hair and all that".
Mashaba, who broke the record of 1996 Afcon-winning coach Clive Barker for being the most successful head coach in charge of the national team by winning his 23rd match from 43 internationals, made it a point to address what he felt was disrespect from the media when engaging with him.
"When we have lost a game, we don't mind who says what. You know, yesterday I went to one of the radio stations and my family said 'but why do you go and degrade yourself like this?' because most of the questions that came out there, are too personal. I'm a very friendly person, when you deal with me in a friendly way. I don't mind what you say, but you got to show respect when you talk to me."
After all was said and done, the coach refused to let his squabbles with the media cloud his side's efforts on the day, as they registered only their second win over Senegal's Lions of Teranga to retain the Mandela Challenge trophy.