South Africa soccer coach fired after rant at critics

FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015 file photo, South Africa's head coach Shakes Mashaba shouts instructions during their African Cup of Nations Group C soccer match against Ghana in Mongomo, Equatorial Guinea. Shakes Mashaba has been fired following a disciplinary hearing into his comments after a World Cup qualifier last month, and was released with immediate effect on Thursday Dec. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, File)

JOHANNESBURG — The coach of South Africa's national team was fired on Thursday following a disciplinary hearing into his public outburst after a World Cup qualifier last month.

Shakes Mashaba was suspended after a television camera caught him ranting at his critics, while reports claimed he also insulted the head of the country's soccer federation after a 2-1 win against Senegal on Nov. 12.

At a hearing that took place over five days this month, Mashaba was found guilty of three charges — gross misconduct/professional misconduct, gross insubordination/professional misconduct, and violation of the federation's communications policy — and was released with immediate effect.

"It is regrettable that we had to face the events of the past month at a time when the national team is experiencing a resurgence in its quest to qualify for the 2018 World Cup," said Dennis Mumble, chief executive of the South African Football Association.

South Africa has collected four points from its opening two games in qualification to lie in second place in Group D, behind Burkino Faso on goal difference. Only the first-place team qualifies.

Footage showed Mashaba being calmed by a reporter and a SAFA official just before a post-match TV interview for the national broadcaster following the win over Senegal. The video showed a clearly angry Mashaba shouting and pointing his finger as he moves into position for the interview.

"This is my second life. These people have already buried me, you know that," Mashaba said in reference to the media.

South African media reported that the charges also followed comments made by Mashaba to SAFA President Danny Jordaan and other federation officials when they entered the dressing room to congratulate the team.

Assistant coach Owen da Gama took charge of a friendly against Mozambique while Mashala was suspended.

South Africa's next World Cup qualifier isn't until August.

The team didn't qualify for the African Cup of Nations, running from Jan. 14-Feb. 5 in Gabon.

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