In a tournament which has seen most of the big guns beaten by lowly-ranked countries (Bafana Bafana lost to Botswana, Ghana to Madagascar, Zambia to Namibia and Zimbabwe to Namiba), Mashaba said it would be proper for South Africa to take the Plate stage seriously.
“We are playing Malawi on Wednesday, 27 May (kick off 19h30) and if we win that game, will progress to the Plate final on Friday. That is our wish, to win the semis and the final. It will be good for these young boys to go home with something,” said Mashaba.
“We cannot afford to take Malawi lightly. They are giants in the regions and they are also hurt by the defeat to Mozambique,” added Mashaba.
The Bafana Bafana coach said the Botswana defeat was behind the entire team who were given a full rest on Monday.
“We wanted them to recover fully, mentally and physically, hence the players were given a full day off. We expect good things on Wednesday against Malawi; that is our intention.”
Mashaba said apart from scoring problems, one issue which didn’t satisfy him during the Botswana game was tracking the ball back after losing possession.
The national coach said one or two players from this group would definitely graduate to play in the CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches.
On why all big guns had fallen by the wayside in this tournament, Mashaba said ‘small’ teams had surprised even themselves and had played beyond their normal way.
He said the fact that most countries that dominated during the 90 minutes lost on penalties should indicate all matches were closely fought.