South Africa’s FA (SAFA) has sacked coach Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba for “gross misconduct”. He was also found guilty of insubordination and violating communication policies. Mashaba was suspended last month after making strong comments about SAFA president Danny Jordaan. “Due to the seriousness of [his] actions, we had to release our head coach with immediate effect,” a SAFA statement said. The incidents all followed South Africa’s 2-1 win over Senegal in a 2018 World Cup qualifier on 12 November. That result left Bafana Bafana second in Group D on four points, behind Burkina Faso on goal difference. Only the group winners qualify for the finals in Russia in 2018. “It is regrettable that we had to face the events of the past month at a time when the National Team is experiencing a resurgence in its quest to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup”, SAFA chief executive Dennis Mumble said in a statement.
However South Africa failed to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Gabon next month. Mashaba was also accused of having a verbal altercation with Mr Mumble and insulting the media. The suspension meant he missed a friendly against Mozambique in November, when assistant coach Owen da Gama took charge. SAFA says it will “immediately institute a search for a new head coach, familiar with African football competition.” The new coach would be charged with continuing the “quest to qualify for the world’s apex football competition”, the statement said. SAFA appealed to fans to continue to support Bafana Bafana.