Shakes Mashaba is a household name in South African football and still boasts the highest winning percentage of any national team coach - but he admits the Nedbank Ke Yona Team faces a stiff challenge against Kaizer Chiefs.
Amakhosi, who are the defending league and Nedbank Cup champions, clash with a group of ordinary men and amatuer footballers who underwent a tough selection process to land a place in the Ke Yona Team.
Mashaba admits that their aim on Sunday will be to secure a famous win over one of the biggest clubs in South Africa, but knows that it will not be easy.
"As coaches, if you put out a team your priority is to win and the competitive nature within us says that too. But to play against a team like Kaizer Chiefs, who are current Nedbank Cup champions and are together all the time... it would be a major achievement. But anything is possible in football," he said.
The coach also revealed that he was delighted to work with the group of players, adding, "It was a highlight to see such an enthusiastic young group and how they have soaked up all the knowledge we have given them and put it into practice. Many players at this age think they know it all and it takes time to get through to them, but these boys have been so eager to learn and so quick to implement what you tell them. They have open and enquiring minds and have been a pleasure to work with."
Mashaba was working with Owen da Gama, Mike Mangena and Khabo Zondo to prepare the side for their battle with the Soweto giants.
Former Platinum Stars coach Da Gama also admitted that their troops face the challenge of their lives in footballing terms, saying, "Kaizer Chiefs are training every day, they have been working on the team to play our Ke Yona Team for some time. And it is a team that will do well in the PSL, I can tell you.
"For me it is not about showing how good the team is, it is for the players to put up a good performance. That is why we are here. But having said that, if we beat Kaizer Chiefs it will be one of the biggest achievements for me in my coaching career given where we have come from."
Mangena warned Chiefs that they should not expect the Ke Yona team to go down without a fight, adding, "In a game of football, both teams have an equal chance of winning, it doesn’t mean if it is Manchester United against the minnows. I strongly believe these boys will put up a good fight. If they lose, they will lose with dignity, they will not just roll over."
Zondo echoed those sentiments, "We always have to be positive and I honestly believe these players can surprise, I know they do have the ability to do so. We will definitely compete."
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