South Africans appear to be up in arms over Shakes Mashaba's selection policy for the national team. It has never been the least controversial topic in footballing circles, but this time it seems particularly disputed. The people wish for form over favour when it comes to national team selection. Has Shakes delivered on that?
Today, if you were to log on to Get Published, you would find a number of articles bemoaning the current state of the national side as we head into the daunting task of dominating the Indomitable Lions.
Here were some of this morning's headlines:
"Only a prayer can help Bafana" by Jonnybee50
"Bafana needs transformation" by Matome_Kay
"Believe me, South African football is going backwards" by njinjie8.
One SL website user, Alex Pritchard, who stated that Shakes' selection policy sends out the wrong message to upcoming youngsters, put a convincing argument forward.
"How do you explain to Reyaad Pieterse that he hasn't been selected for the squad?" he asked, before going on to state how bizarre it was that two of the keepers selected (Itumeleng Khune and Jackson Mabokgwane) have not been regulars for their respective clubs their season, and that their match fitness must be in question.
Njinie8 believes we do not use our youngsters correctly, or rather, we don't use them when they are young enough.
"Imagine how the national team would have been if (Hendrick) Ekstein and (Thabo) Rakhale had played when they were 18 years old?" he queried.
It seems there are two issues at play here: 1) Shakes is inconsistent with his vision of building a future squad and sometimes selects out-of-form legends (Khune) over in-form youngsters (Pieterse); and 2) there are youngsters around, but they do not get deployed by the national team early enough and therefore lack fundamental experience and training.
Do you think Shakes was correct in omitting Reyaad Pieterse from his latest squad? Should we be experimenting more with teenagers at a national level?