South African coach Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba
South Africa coach Shakes Mashaba has expressed his great delight after guiding the Bafana Bafana to the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations finals and vowed to show his team's best against Nigeria.
South Africa ensured their place in the finals in Equatorial Guinea after beating Sudan 2-1 on Saturday.
Mashaba hailed his players after the precious victory, insisting he was impressed with their display throughout the qualifiers.
"I am glad to have seen the boys play the kind of football they played after a very long time. There was everything you would have asked for as a coach," Mashaba was quoted as saying by the South African Football Association's (SAFA) official website.
"But we nearly gave it away towards the end of the game, the players all switched off and went to sit at the back and we invited trouble, but we managed to hold up," he added.
South Africa face Nigera in the last round of the qualifiers. The Super Eagles are in a must-win situation to snatch the second Group A ticket to next year's finals.
"I would like to say congratulations to the players. We are still left with one game, against Nigeria. I know people will think it is going to be a walkover. No, we are going to put out our best team," the coach said.
"It is more than three points at stake when we go to Nigeria. It's going to be another tough game like the one we played today, which many thought was going to be easy. Thanks to all the supporters, their presence helped us conquer," he added.
Saturday's goal was the first time South Africa had conceded in five matches of the qualifiers, with seven goals scored.
"Obviously we would have loved to round off the qualifiers without conceding any goals, but that doesn't matter. Now we have qualified and it's the most important thing now. It has been a long time since we qualified for this prestigious tournament," explained Mashaba.
"It was good to revive the good old memories of qualifying. We are not going to Equatorial Guinea to make up the numbers. We have to go there and compete, and bring back our image as one of the good teams on the continent. Thanks also to the South African Football Association (SAFA) for the assistance as well as the sponsors," the coach concluded.
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