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‘We are not here to teach players how to play football,’ says Bafana assistant coach

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Bafana Bafana assistant coach Cedomir Janevski says the new dawn they want to bring does not include teaching players how to play football, instead they want to help individuals gel together as a team.

Bafana Bafana assistant Cedomir Janevski during the 2021 Bafana Bafana Training on the 08 June 2021 at Discovery Park. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu, BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – New Bafana Bafana assistant coach Cedomir Janevski says the new dawn they want to bring to the South African senior national team does not include teaching players how to play football, instead they want to help individuals gel together as a team.

It’s been a tough year for Bafana. They failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon next year, after losing their last qualifier away to Sudan. They finished third in Group C behind leaders Ghana and the Sudanese.

As a result, Molefi Ntseki lost his job. Safa have since appointed Hugo Broos as his successor. The Belgian coach then appointed two assistants, Macedonian Janevski and local footballing legend Helman Mkhalele.

Despite having Macedonian roots, Janevski spent most of his life in Belgium. He played there and coached clubs such as Brugge, before forging a relationship with Broos.

His last job was in Cyprus, where he coached top-flight side Olympiakos Nicosia.

Janevski and Mkhalele will be in charge of Bafana’s friendly against Uganda at Orlando Stadium on Thursday. Broos is back home in Belgium to receive his second jab of the Covid-19 vaccine after leaving SA last month.

“We are not here to teach players how to play football. We have to use their individual talent and skills to help them to play as a team. That’s the target that we want to achieve in the coming period,” said Janevski.

A new dawn for Bafana will not get off to an ideal start after playmakers Percy Tau, Sipho Mbule and Teboho Mokoena were ruled out of the match against Uganda due to Covid-19 restrictions. Janevski, though, suggested they were confident that they will get the job done in Soweto.

“When we knew that we’ll be playing against Uganda, we, together with the staff, watched some of their games. We analysed their strong and weak points. We are going to prepare in a short period so that we can get a result. We know that it won’t be an easy game,” he said.

Following Bafana’s underwhelming performances over the past decade, where they failed to qualify for a handful of Afcon and World Cups, Mkhalele was brought into the Bafana set-up to bring Broos and Janevski up to speed with the culture and information about local football.

The 51-year-old, 1996 Afcon-winning player, who is also doubling up as the Under-20 national team coach, is aware of the Bafana’s shortcomings. He said players need assistance at club level if they are going to help Bafana become great again and qualify for major tournaments.

“The biggest challenge that we are facing at Bafana, from my own observation, is what is happening at club level. There are many aspects that need to be addressed at club level. Our players, they’ve got the talent but they’ve not been helped enough,” Mkhalele said.

“The players have the talent, but they don’t have the fighting spirit that comes naturally in each and every footballer. Those are the challenges that need to be addressed at club level. So, that when they come to the national team, we are able to deal with them at a tactical level.”