After 11 distinguished years with the South African Football Association, Ephraim 'Shakes' Mashaba is hoping to serve Black Leopards with the same acclaim.
The burly former Bafana Bafana coach, who signed a two-year deal with the Thohoyandou-based team on Wednesday, spoke to SAsoccer365.coms Shahied Joseph on Thursday about his plans for Lidoda Duvha.
SJ: Good morning coach, thanks for speaking to me on such short notice.
SM: Good morning, it's fine as I do have time to talk.
SJ: Coach, you are living in Klerksdorp, yet you are employed in Thohayandou, will the traveling not be too much for you?
SM: It is difficult right now but I'm looking at moving closer to the team soon. I'm no stranger to Venda as I have family here so that will also make my trip worthwhile and my stay much easier.
SJ: Why Black Leopards?
SM: They were the first to approach me, and if you look at what the team has done so far and what can be done for them, I think I've made a good choice.
SJ: What are you hoping to accomplish with them?
SM: I'm here to serve the team. I haven't spoken to David Byrne about the team yet but I have my ideas. I'd like to improve the quality of the team and my target is a top eight finish.
SJ: Have you had a look at the players?
SM: Yes I have. They're an enthusiastic bunch and they are eager to stamp their authority on the league. They're totally committed to the cause and I'm looking forward to working with them.
SJ: Would you not have preferred to work with a bigger team?
SM: No. Look at the region where this team comes from. They have ambitions and I want to be a part of it. Like I said, I want to serve the team and not work for them.
Let me explain, I could have worked anywhere and received a salary, but to me this is not a job, it's my life and I want to see the club and the players achieve success within soccer and outside of it. I'm sure I can help enrich the lives of this ambitious young team.
SJ: Well coach, good luck and I'll be speaking to you soon.
SM: No problem, you are most welcome to call then.