Bafana Bafana interim coach Molefi Ntseki reveals that words of wisdom from some of his colleagues have given him a much-needed lift as the former schoolteacher ushers in a new era for the senior national team.
Some of the well-wishers include his former head coach, Stuart Baxter.
“We have shared a lot of information on a personal level with coach Stuart. He believes that I am articulate in terms of my approach and way of doing things,” Ntseki told City Press on the sidelines of his first conference, during which he announced the squad that will face Zambia in Lusaka in a friendly game on September 7.
“I spoke to coach Serame Letsoaka as well. He was also happy for me, advising that my humility and cool-headedness will be important, especially for a position like this. Lastly, I spoke to coach Pitso Mosimane, who I’ve come a long way with. We attended a coaching course together in 2007 in Germany. He said: ‘Don’t be somebody else, be yourself.’”
Ntseki has stepped into the post as a stopgap after it was left vacant by Baxter, who resigned early this month.
However, Ntseki pointed out that, as much as he was also interested in the job, he would not try too hard to impress.
“With due respect, the processes are happening in the search for a coach. I’ll just be patient, like any other coach who wants to be involved at a higher level.
“If it’s not me, I’ll be supportive of whatever decision is made,” added the former youth coach, who turned 50 last weekend.
He also called on the fans to back Bafana Bafana.
During his team announcement on Friday, Ntseki rang in nine changes to the squad that campaigned at the Afcon tournament in Egypt in June and July.
“I know for a fact that we have 50 million people in this country and not all of them will be in support of the team we selected.”
He pointed out that the selection was done based mainly on “the profiling we have done of the players and the induction we have done of the new ones”.
The coach said the friendly match against Zambia would help prepare Bafana for the upcoming back-to-back 2021 Afcon qualifiers against Ghana and Sudan in November.
Meanwhile, Safa acting chief executive Russell Paul said Safa was hoping to have appointed a permanent coach by then.
“The process is under way,” he said.
The task team established by the technical committee had met and conducted its first session to deliberate on how it would deal with the matter, he said.
“The objective for us remains in place – we want to try to do it by the time the friendlies for October come around, to allow the new coach the opportunity to at least prepare for the games against Ghana and Sudan.”
Paul refused to comment when asked if there was substance to the assertion by Baxter in his Afcon technical report that Ntseki had worked without a contract while serving as assistant coach all along.
“I can’t comment on that. When we evaluate the report, we’ll make a comment.”
Ntseki has been involved in the Safa coaching structures for a decade – he started as deputy to Letsoaka in the Under-20 team.
It is interesting to note that Ntseki launched the first phase of Safa Vision 2022 when he qualified the national Under-17 for the 2015 World Cup.
With Bafana, albeit on an interim basis, he is starting the second phase in the cycle towards the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Meanwhile, Levy Ramajoe has taken over in the interim as Bafana team manager after Safa’s longest-serving manager of national teams, Barney Kujane, went into retirement last month.
Ramajoe said Bafana would report for camp on Sunday and depart for Zambia four days later.
Goalkeepers: Darren Keet (OH Leuven, Belgium), Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United), Brandon Petersen (Bidvest Wits)
Defenders: Eric Mathoho (Kaizer Chiefs), Buhle Mkhwanazi, Thulani Hlatshwayo (both Wits), Thapelo Morena (Mamelodi Sundowns), Thamsanqa Mkhize, Thato Mokeke (both Cape Town City), Innocent Maela (Orlando Pirates)
Midfielders: Kamohelo Mokotjo (Brentford FC, England), Rivaldo Coetzee, Lebogang Maboe, (both Sundowns), Dean Furman (SuperSport), Lebogang Phiri (EA Guingamp, France), Bongani Zungu (Amiens, France), Thembinkosi Lorch (Pirates), Thulani Serero (Vitesse Arnhem, Holland), Percy Tau (Club Brugge, Belgium), Keagan Dolly (Montpellier, France)
Forwards: Lebo Mothiba (RC Strasbourg, France), Bradley Grobler (SuperSport), Kermit Erasmus (City)