Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba admits to knowing very tittle of Gambia, whom they meet in their 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying opener next week Saturday.
Gambia are ranked 157th in the latest FIFA world rankings – 98 places below South Africa – and will look to cause an upset against the 1996 AFCON winners.
“I wouldn’t say we know much [about Gambia]; the last time I saw them play was some two-and-a-half years back. Up to this point I haven’t really given myself time to check on what’s happening,” said Mashaba.
“I’m one different coach … I don’t believe in what we call spying. You watch a team play and they change five players, what do you do? You run back to your dressing-room and say… ‘hey, they have made five changes, let’s change our plan’.
“Let us prepare ourselves to go and fight. We have opposition in front of us, let’s go and play them. Let’s work on our game plan on how we’re going to beat them.”
Mashaba’s team were impressive in the previous AFCON qualifying campaign, booking their place in Equatorial Guinea with a game to spare, but the 64-year-old cautioned against taking Group M lightly which also consists of powerhouse Cameroon and minnows Mauritania.
“Up to this point when I listen to people, they are saying this is an easy route to the AFCON because of our opposition, but they are planning as well so it’s not going to be a walk in the park especially when we play away.”
Meanwhile, Mashaba has explained the inclusion of SuperSport United captain Clayton Daniels and Baroka FC midfielder Gift Motupa in his squad.
Daniels and Orlando Pirates-bound Motupa were both part of the disappointing 2015 Cosafa Cup group where Bafana bombed out at the first hurdle with back-to-back penalty-shoot out defeats.
“We did indicate before the Cosafa Cup to brace yourselves for surprises; one or two players in that team will end up in the Bafana squad,” said Mashaba, who also gave the nod to left-back Marc van Heerden.
“There are certain things we look at in players and if you look Daniels at the back, he’s a tiger, he plays his heart out. Motupa as well in a midfield-cum-striker [position] … he deserves to be given a chance.”
Source: Kickoff South Africa