It's that time of the year again… The World Cup qualifiers are upon us. Shakes Mashaba has announced his squad to face the mammoth task, and as usual, it makes little sense to the common man. But, then again, what is common sense in this day and age?
We must accept one thing: Shakes Mashaba is not going anywhere for a while. Most supporters thought he would have been given the sack a long time ago, but here he is. Shakes has, unfortunately, lost much of the trust of the supporters since he has been in charge, for a number of reasons.
All these reasons have to do with individual players. Firstly, his attitude has alienated the national team from two of arguably its current greatest assets. Kermit Erasmus and Kamohelo Mokotjo have stated that they will not play for Bafana Bafana until the coach is no longer there. It is worrying that we have a coach who makes enemies of some of our best players.
Secondly, his selections make little sense in the minds of supporters. Let's start with the latest squad. Included among the goalkeepers is Jackson Mabokgwane, who has not played a competitive game in who knows how long. He got the nod ahead of some younger keepers who actually play for their first team and could have benefited from the experience.
In midfield, we have Thulani Serero, who also has not played a competitive game in a long time. Luckily, we are blessed with plenty of talented midfielders, though, so it is difficult to make a wrong decision here.
In the striking department, it is almost comical. The supporters have constantly brought this issue up – Thamsanqa Gabuza. It seems as if he is a permanent feature in the national team, which no player should be. He has played just 21 minutes for Orlando Pirates so far this season. He does not make the grade at club level but is deemed perfect at national level. He also missed a penalty in our last game, yet still he remains. Among the exclusions are young and effective strikers in the form of Thabiso Kutumela and Prince Nxumalo, who finished the previous campaign as the second highest scorer.
Shakes' selections make no sense and we know that he does not do much homework on the opposition. So where is the silver lining? The good news is that he has woven his own rope and tied his own noose. With him staying as the national coach, it means he has put his name out there to be tarnished. This is his last chance, let us sit back and watch, it is too late to change now. If his plan somehow works, then we can all swallow our words. And I hope he does prove us all wrong, but it will take something special, especially considering the group we find ourselves in.
As one of our Facebook supporters said: "Your selections are panicked and nonsensical, if it doesn't work then history will judge you harshly, Mr Mashaba."
But if he fails, then he fails hard, but the last laugh will be on us, because if he fails then we fail again… And we are left wondering what could possibly save our soccer, another coach? We've tried that before… It never seems to work.
So, dear Shakes, please don't break out hearts, they are fragile. I hope you know what you are doing.