Bafana’s chances of ending top of Group M are slim, with them needing leaders Cameroon to lose both their games and second-place Mauritania to drop points as well.
Shakes, who is in his second stint in charge of Bafana, is holding out on false hope that they can beat Gambia this weekend and Mauritania in September to qualify by virtue of finishing as the best-runners up from 13 groups.
The coach, though, has admitted in the past that he doesn’t scout the opposition and would rather concentrate on his team.
But now he is singing a different tune.
Shakes says: “I don’t think we did our homework properly for those two games. We just thought they will come like teams we have faced in the past.”
He adds that his manne did waste many chances in front of goal, scoring just three goals in their four games so far.
Mashaba says: “I have always said that we fluffed it in the first two games [a goalless draw against Gambia and a 3-1 defeat away to lowly Mauritania] and hence we find ourselves in this position.
“We have to do our best now and make sure we collect maximum points, which is rather unfortunate because we have to then sit back and watch what is going to happen.
“But we brought this on ourselves and will have to wait on others to help us. “Anything is possible.
The coach, however, insists that his players are ready for the battle after a long PSL season.
He says: “I was surprised by what I saw because I thought the players will all be tired after travelling and it being the end of the season.
“We didn’t expect much, but they are aware of our commitments in these qualifiers.”
Goalie Itumeleng Khune says Bafana must start to build momentum for their 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
He says: “We will play Mauritania in our final Afcon match then the World Cup qualifiers and it is important to keep the momentum going starting with Saturday’s game against Gambia.”