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Mokotjo vs Mashaba... Supporters Choose Their Corner

There are two things currently at play in South African football: two flaming fireballs, equally difficult to juggle. First, no one is particularly happy with coach Shakes Mashaba as his selections are a massive point of contention and he has all but failed to qualify our national team for Afcon 2017. Secondly, many have come to the conclusion that the biggest hindrance to our footballing progress is the chopping and changing of coaches.

So the path of action is not clear. To rid ourselves of another coach, or to back him to the bitter end? This question was more difficult last week, before Mashaba made an enemy of Kamohelo Mokotjo, one of South Africa's most loved sons. Now, it seems, if it came down to it, the supporters would choose their players over the coach. Soccer Laduma user dorcy certainly would.

"Shakes is thinking with his heart not his mind," he said.

"We can never blame overseas-based players when they hang up their boots… Remember players like Benni and Pienaar… Everyone thought they were hanging up their boots for money… However, they were not seeing eye to eye with management."

This supporter is referring to another trend in SA football. We often feel let down by our overseas stars when they don't honour national call-ups; we sometimes assume they are choosing money over the flag.

Recent developments have now led us to believe that they are not persuaded to stay overseas because of money; rather, they are dissuaded from coming home because of management. This is the case with Mokotjo, and SL user Black Jesus KCexcel agrees with the player's decision to temporarily retire from Bafana. 

"I would have done the same, boy (Mokotjo)," he said. 

"Shakes is clueless, focus on your team that notices your form." 

Most of the comments on our site suggest that the supporters sympathize with Mokotjo. Perhaps Shakes has now made one too many enemies. Developing a public rivalry with two of the country's most promising stars (Kermit Erasmus and Mokotjo) does not bode well for your stance in public opinion.

Shakes is known for his firmness on his position, so it seems we will have to do without our most promising European assets in our national team for a while. However, there are always two sides to every story and the head coach must be able to run his team how he sees fit; like any team in the world, you cannot have the players running the show... However, there is always a balance to be found.

Has Shakes gone one step too far now in making an enemy of Mokotjo? Or was Mokotjo wrong in believing he was entitled to a place in Bafana's starting line-up? Will this start a trend of players leaving the national team?

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