Bafana Bafana coach Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba has reserved special praise for Itumeleng Khune, describing the number one goal-minder as among the best goalkeepers in the world.
“He is undoubtedly one of the best goalkeepers in the world and I am still baffled as to why one of the top European clubs hasn’t signed him,” said Mashaba at a press conference on Wednesday.
Last year, Real Madrid and Costa Rican number one goalkeeper Keylor Navas also lavished praise on the Kaizer Chiefs captain and wondered why he was still playing in the Premier Soccer League instead of earning himself a lucrative deal in one of the European top leagues.
Mashaba said a super fit Khune was just as good as any best goalkeeper in the world.
“He is world class and is among the top 10 goalkeepers in the world. With him marshalling the backline, you can be rest assured half your problems are solved,” said Mashaba answering a question on whether he had his starting 11 in mind already.
The Bafana Bafana coach said him and the technical team had the starting line up in mind but the decision on who will take to the field will be determined by performance in training.
Mashaba emphasised that it was not necessary to feel intimidated by Senegal’s big names as past records show there is little to separate the two sides in their past meetings.
“We might not have dominated them but they haven’t dominated us either. I think on our day, we have what it takes to beat the best sides in the world and Senegal included.”
He again reiterated that Mamelodi Sundowns’ triumph in Africa had brought in some positives vibes among the players.
“We know what happened when Orlando Pirates won the CAF Champions League title in 1995 and the subsequent year Bafana Bafana lifted the Africa Cup of Nations. The spin offs are always positive,” added Mashaba.
He said it was imperative for other PSL clubs to follow in Sundowns’ footsteps of taking African competitions seriously.
On new striker Lars Veldwijk, Mashaba said while the new player was still trying to find his feet, he looked sharp at training and in the long run could be the ultimate saviour because he is confident, bullish and his imposing physical features could come in handy