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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 January, 2004, 16:23 GMT
Mashaba suspended
"Shakes" Mashaba has been suspended by Safa for seven days

South Africa's build-up to the African Cup of Nations has been thrown into chaos following the suspension of manager Ephraim 'Shakes' Mashaba.

Mashaba was suspended for seven days after a meeting of the South African Football Association (Safa) on Wednesday.

He was heavily criticised over his relationship with key players who have been left out of the squad for Tunisia 2004.

He will be replaced for this weekend's Cosafa Cup match in Mauritius by his assistant Styles Phumo.

Officials added that Mashaba could lose his job before the Nations Cup finals unless he recalls the likes of Quinton Fortune and other players he has fallen out with in recent months.

As first reported by BBC Sport, Mashaba had a heated meeting with football chiefs on Tuesday as the controversy over his selection policy rumbled on.

Mark Fish of South Africa and Charlton Athletic
Mark Fish's request for a late arrival was turned down

Mashaba was taken to task for failing to accommodate requests by Benni McCarthy and Mark Fish that they be allowed to stay with their European clubs until just before the finals on 24 January.

Mashaba insisted that all players be available from 10 January, the start of the two-week period before a major continental championship allowed by Fifa for player call-ups.

As a result of Mashaba's hard-line stance, both McCarthy and Fish pulled out of the Bafana Bafana line-up altogether.

Safa officials have told the coach to recall the likes Fortune and the giant Dutch-based goalkeeper Hans Vonk or face the sack - a fate that could well still befall him.

It is not the first time Mashaba has fallen out with Safa officials.

He was temporarily replaced as coach in May last year for the friendly against England, after questioning the commitment of Lucas Radebe and others to the national side.

He insisted on picking a home-based squad for the game, and Safa drafted in Jomo Sono to take charge instead.

Mashaba faces the sack
06 Jan 04  |  African
SA shun Fortune and Fish
07 Nov 03  |  African
Fish out of SA squad
24 Dec 03  |  African

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