South Africa national team coach Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba believes Group A of the 2015 African Cup of Nations qualifiers will be tougher by the inclusion of Congo who defeated Nigeria on Saturday at the UJ Eusene Stadium, Calabar, in the pool.
Mashaba who is returning to the Bafana Bafana job after previous spells in charge of the team that won the 1996 African Cup of Nations, admits it will not be a smooth ride in an effort to qualify for the African Cup of Nations in Morocco in January 2015.
Mashaba’s team will play against Nigeria’s Super Eagles on Wednesday in Cape Town and will be keen to ensure that they win the game against a team that have proven to be a hoodoo side for his team.
“It is a tough group and it became worse with the inclusion of Congo,” said Mashaba, referring to the Congolese taking the place of Rwanda after the Amavubi were disqualified for fielding an ineligible player.
“I always knew that Congo’s inclusion would make it more difficult and their victory in Nigeria just confirmed that. Everybody in this group will have to play hard and double their efforts to succeed,” Mashaba told FIFA.com
Incidentally Stephen Keshi, who led Nigeria to a third African Cup of Nations triumph in South Africa in 2013 was in the running to take charge of the Bahana Bafana but Mashaba was announced as the new coach on July 26, 2014