Super Eagles coach, Tshegofatso Mashego has credited the help his team received prior to the ABC Motsepe League National Play-Offs as the reason they managed to gain promotion to the National First Division (NFD).
Eagles, who are from Free State, finished top of Group A in the play-offs that were held in East London, but lost to Uthongathi in the final to determine the league champions.
Mashego revealed that Eagles played high intensity friendly matches against Bloemfontein Celtic, Free State Stars, Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns as part of their preparations.
They also spent over a week at a training camp at the Free State High Performance Centre, where their players were helped with conditioning.
“That was a big help for us. We went to the tournament really confident because we knew our preparation was great. And for me, I think this was a great show of brotherhood, especially from Celtic and Free State Stars because us qualifying for the NFD is for the good of the province. The HPC also played a great role and we are eternally grateful,” said Mashego, former Free State Stars defender.
“We also defied odds because Acornbush or Buya Msuthu were tipped as favourites, while we were not given a chance, together with Maccabi and The Dolphins. So I give my boys credit because they worked really hard. The NFD will demand that we up our game, and we are well aware of that.”
Mashego also applauded the initiative by SAFA, ABC Motsepe League and Sundowns to select top players from the play-offs to play in a match against African champions Sundowns.
Three players in the 22-man squad are from Super Eagles – Tshidiso Manyingisa, Tiisetso Noosi and Mpapa Mofokeng.
Mashego adds that this is a big opportunity for the selected players, and if any of the big teams come knocking on the door for those players, Eagles will not stand in their way.
“Our biggest dream is to produce players for Bafana Bafana. We have said that if someone from the big league comes for our players, we will not stand in their way, we will gladly give them our blessings. We want to contribute to South African football,” added Mashego.
“We are looking forward to seeing how our players will fare in that squad, and I think we should all applaud the organisers for this great iniative. I just hope it’s will be an on-going thing not just a once-off because many players could realise their dreams just by playing in this match.”
Former Orlando Pirates midfielder, Lebogang Mothibantwa, assists Mashego in the Eagles technical team.