Shakes explains Keyona selections

Posted: 2 September 2018 Time: 11:30

Nedbank Keyona Team coach Ephraim 'Shakes' Mashaba has explained his selection of the 16 players that will represent the side against Nedbank Cup champions Free State Stars at Makhulong Stadium on September 9.

Seven players were omitted from the final cut.

 "It's unfortunate what people don't understand," Mashaba tells

 "You know as a coach this is a moment that you hate, to cut, to say to players you didn't qualify, and you qualified. That's a very serious part and sad part of this team announcement. The seven players that did not make it, it doesn't mean that they are not good. You know there's a small difference between them and the ones that have remained. You will realise that in our Nedbank Team Keyona selection we don't have a criteria at place. The reason being that remember when we started we said we are giving players that never had an opportunity to be selected or to be coached at the highest level.

 "You get players who turned 18, 23 that have never got coaching or a chance to play in stadiums like Orlando Stadium, Ellis Park, all these big names. So we give them the chance. And now the biggest thing here is the football followers. The stage fright you know, and when we select them again we find that they don't have equipment that is up to standard. We only give them equipment now after this final 16 because unfortunately to do that, that will cost a lot of money. Because per province that we go to we find close to 500 players that are coming for trials. So you are talking close to 500 pairs of soccer boots.

"I think those that didn't make it, it's not the end of everything. We did see them and we can only hope that the clubs have seen them. There is no big difference between them and these ones, there's just that small edge they differ with. Some of it is stage fright, some of it is respecting one another ... Those are the only things that have made the other seven not to qualify.

"And those who are selected, selection is not permanent. You got to go work hard because now that we are going to camp we will be taking them through the fitness test and medical test, to see are they still the same or they've gone down or they have increased. When we realise a player is not alright, we've got a right to refer back to the seven that didn't win."

The former Bafana Bafana coach also elaborated on the appointment of Nkanyiso Nene as the captain.

"If we were talking maybe big clubs, when you make a player a captain, there will be a big criteria, discipline, we talking how much committed are you ... what are your leadership qualities, what do you do to help your teammates on and off the pitch? You know, those things, but here we look at a very few things. We say okay every time we look at him as a player he is pushing his teammates. During training sessions he is leading, he is the one who is always upfront. During times for eating you can see he is a leader. He is a guy who can be able to solve his teammates’ problems if there are any. He can guide them to better things."

Mashaba says he is grateful that his team will face a club like Stars, whom he trusts will field all their big guns. He believes his recruits might hold their own against the Absa Premiership side.

"Nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself. We've got the capability, we've got the boys to do it. What we are really afraid of is the question of stage fright you know. We don't say Free State Stars is an easy... it's gonna be tough. But we've got the boys to pull it up for us. Because when you come to these other top teams they will give you their second, even their third best team you know. But I think with Free State Stars we do expect them to give us their real squad that normally play in the PSL matches."

The Nedbank Keyona Team Squad: Camagu Kanana, Sibonelo Majozi, Maluleka Mathonsi, Nkanyiso Nene (Captain), Xolelwa Bonxa, Sipho Sibiya, Mzikayise Williams, Buyelekhaya Velelwandle, Thabo Mogotsi, Karabo Mookamedi, Cameron Paulse, Lwazi Mgwaba, Lesley Petersen, Lunathi Mdatyulwa, Axolile Kapo and Asivile Tom.

Article by: Sipho Mlotha

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