South African national team coach Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba has been suspended by the South African Football Association (SAFA) following his side’s 2-1 World Cup qualifying victory over Senegal on Saturday in Polokwane.
The win allowed Bafana to share top spot in Group D with Burkina Faso, as both are on four points, ahead of Cape Verde and Senegal.
The South Africans have only beaten the Teranga Lions twice out of eight previous matches, with this being the first competitive victory for Bafana over their West African rivals. Despite the feat, the news coming out of the camp was negative on Sunday night.
SAFA announced that Mashaba was suspended, but did not provide any details on the reasons for his suspension.
Media speculation in South Africa suggests that the fiery 66-year-old got into an argument with SAFA officials after the match in Polokwane.
A statement from SAFA revealed: ‘Mashaba will not join the team in Mozambique as the association has deemed it necessary to employ disciplinary measures after a regrettable incident on Saturday.’
The statement added: ‘The association will not be making any further comments on this matter out of respect for the dignity of Mashaba and SAFA and the legally privileged nature of such proceedings.’
Mashaba’s assistant Owen Da Gama will be in charge when Bafana take on Mozambique in a friendly international on Tuesday night.
The tactician has courted controversy in charge of Bafana in the past, sticking to his guns against the will of administrators, clashing with them on the treatment of certain European-based players who he believed chose their clubs over the national team.
The most high-profile of these clashes involved record Bafana goal-scorer Benni McCarthy, who he refused to pick for the national team after suggesting that the striker was more interested in his club team than representing his country.
The abrasive coach will need to be careful not to upset the powers that be within SAFA, as his job was on the line recently after he failed to qualify Bafana for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations, and the top brass will not be afraid to crack the whip if they believe that Mashaba is not the right man to take the team forward in these qualifiers.