Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki not only started his tenure with a win last Sunday, but the 50-year-old also gave fans a glimpse of his fashion sense while on the touchline.
Ntseki rocked an Africa-themed dashiki shirt during South Africa’s 2-1 win over Mali in the Nelson Mandela Challenge, a friendly game that marked his first official assignment in charge as Bafana head coach.
Unlike his predecessors Stuart Baxter and Shakes Mashaba who preferred suits on match days, Ntseki said he’s got “a thing for Africa” and the shirt he wore last Sunday gave a sneak preview of his signature game day attire going forward.
Ntseki revealed that the inspiration behind his Africa-themed fashion was his roots as a poet. The tactician from Botshabelo in the Free State disclosed that he used to write and recite poems when he was studying towards a teacher’s diploma at Tshiya College of Education in QwaQwa in the 1990s.
“I was a poet at some stage. And as a poet you become a philosopher, a politician and a traditionalist.
“So my shirt reflected that side of me,” Ntseki told City Press this week.
He added that his Africanness was inspired by, among others, renowned Sesotho author KP Maphalla and former president Thabo Mbeki’s famous I am an African speech in Parliament in 1996.
As for his choice of shirt last Sunday, which he bought at a market in Port Elizabeth on the eve of the game, Ntseki said: “It was predetermined a long time ago. I had another shirt ready but I changed my mind because I was looking for something closer to the occasion – to honour the late statesman [Nelson] Mandela. Even the players were surprised because they had expected me to appear on match day in a suit.
“I never wore suits during my days as a teacher. Africa-inspired fashion is the attire I want to wear to promote and also something about us as South Africans.”
While the former teacher received full marks on his first test at the helm of Bafana, a sterner examination awaits him in the 2021 Afcon qualifiers that start next month.
São Tomé and Príncipe have just completed the line up in Bafana’s qualifying group after the small nation off the coast of central Africa earned their spot with a 5-2 aggregate win over Mauritius last weekend. South Africa are pitted in Group C, alongside Ghana and Sudan.
“Experiences with the Seychelles have taught us that there are no longer small [footballing] countries.
“We’ll play to win the group and adopting this kind of attitude is to say we view everybody [the opponents] the same way,” warned Ntseki in reference to Bafana being held to a goalless draw by the islanders during the previous Afcon qualifiers.
Bafana will start their latest campaign with an away trip to the Black Stars in Kumasi, Ghana, on November 15. They then host Sudan four days later at Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
The the top two sides across the 12 groups – from the 48 qualified nations – will earn a ticket to the continental championships in Cameroon.