Pretoria – Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba been appointed as the new Bafana Bafana coach.

The South African Football Association (SAFA) made the announcement on Saturday following weeks of speculation as to who would take over the post. The 63-year-old takes over from Gordon Igesund, whose contract had expired.

Announcing the appointment of Mashaba at a media conference, SAFA President Dr Danny Jordaan said he was confident of a new era under Mashaba’s reign.

Mashaba first coached the national team from 2002-2004.

“He has a proven record, is a hard worker and he fulfilled all requirements we were looking for to drive our senior national team back to where we all believe they belong – at the top,” said Dr Jordaan.

Mashaba thanked SAFA for the confidence it has shown in him.

“This is a massive but exciting test. I am elated and ready for the challenge,” said Mashaba, who is in Mali where he is with the U/20 team.

“I will do my best to bring back the winning mentality within Bafana Bafana. With the support of all South Africans, the goal of taking Bafana Bafana back to the top is very achievable,” he said.

His first assignment will be the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier for Morocco 2015 against Sudan on the weekend of 5 – 7 September 2014 in Khartoum.

Meanwhile, Gauteng MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, Molebatsi Bopape, congratulated Mashaba on his appointment.

“We’d like to commend not only SAFA but the new coach in efforts to rebuild the senior team. Shakes has proved himself worthy of the appointment by being consistently successful in leading national teams, including Bafana in his first stint as the head coach in 2002.

“He also has been successful with the under 23s and recently the under 20,” she said on Sunday.