Bafana coach Mashaba hails 'patriot' Mathoho

Eric Mathoho's younger brother passed away earlier this week but the defender chose to stay with the side.

Erick Mathoho. Picture: Kaizer Chiefs Facebook page.

JOHANNESBURG - Bafana Bafana coach Ephraim "Shakes" Mashaba has paid tribute to defender Eric Mathoho for putting the country ahead of everything else.

Matoho learnt when he had left the country for Burkina Faso that his younger brother had passed away on Monday.

But the towering defender decided to remain in camp for the Fifa 2018 World Cup qualifier against Burkina Faso on Saturday, at Ouagadougou's Municipal Stadium.

Mashaba said Matoho was asked to remain but he chose to travel with the team, a true sign of patriotism.

"I want to pay tribute to this loyal servant of the country. We had asked him to be excused if he needed to attend to the bereavement of his brother but he insisted he wanted to help the country do well in the World Cup qualifiers."

"Now that is what we call selfless patriotism, this is someone who is prepared to die for the country and on behalf of the entire Bafana Bafana technical team, I was to thank 'Tower' from the bottom of my heart."

Mathoho's brother is scheduled to be buried next weekend but Mashaba said such sacrifices are rare to come by these days.