Bafana Bafana

Ntseki committed to recruiting overseas-based players eligible for Bafana

  • Bafana Bafana head coach Molefi Ntseki confirms he is committed to recruiting overseas-based players.
  • Has already started a process of dialogue with overseas clubs to recruit SA players prior to Covid-19.
  • Ntseki points to Dean Furman as an example of how these players can improve South African football.

South Africa has a history of recruiting overseas-based players to represent Bafana Bafana, with names such as Pierre Issa, Hans Vonk and more recently Dean Furman springing to mind.

There also seems to be a recent phenomenon of talented young players of South African descent who could end up improving future Bafana Bafana teams.

Read | Bafana coach on life during lockdown and his plans for the national team post-Covid-19

These particular youngsters, whose parents immigrated from South African shores for whatever reason, have ended up completely bypassing local youth structures and instead are shining at world-class academies across Europe.

Bafana Bafana could be the ones to benefit from this by having talented players who have been discovered and polished in Europe and soon will be ready to be put on display on the world stage.

In a chat with Sport24, Bafana Bafana head coach Molefi Ntseki confirmed that he has already identified these players and has taken steps to recruit them to represent senior and junior men's national teams.

"I think we should be honest with ourselves and if we compare European facilities and expertise to South Africa in particular, these are two different environments," Ntseki said.

"As South Africans, we are looking forward to more of our local players going overseas. I think in recent years you've seen a number of youngsters going to play in Europe which is good for us."

Brothers Reyaan and Akiel Raffie, born to a South African father, are part of the Manchester City and Fleetwood Town academies in the UK, with 17-year-old Akiel already confirming his intent to one day represent Bafana.

Many other talented young South Africans have been impressing overseas as they further their football educations at academies in the UK and across Europe.

These include players such as Khaya Leshabela (19, Leicester City), Siphesihle Mdlalose (19, Southampton), Katlego Mashigo (17, Fleetwood Town), Leo Thethani and Dean Solomons (both Ajax Amsterdam) and Tashreeq Matthews (Borussia Dortmund).

Along with Lyle Foster at Monaco and Luther Singh at Braga, 26-year-old Tom Barkhuizen is also an established player at Championship side Preston North End.

Also read| Large number of SA youngsters now plying trade overseas

"As a former Under-17 and Under-20 national team coach I have seen a number of these players leave for Europe and we are encouraging them to go there and experience international football at that level," Ntseki added.

"Still that is not enough. There are many other good players who we are not aware of that is of SA origin that could easily be recruited for Bafana Bafana and younger age groups.

"I'm actually working on it and its just unfortunate that when I was about to leave for Europe to start relations with these different teams, coaches and players the Covid-19 pandemic hit which put a halt to everything.

"We do have a network that we are using where we do get information on South African players that are based abroad every week each Monday.

Ntseki also pointed to former SuperSport United captain Furman as an example of how these players can improve local football.

"If we look at Dean Furman we didn't know much about him until he was discovered by coach Gordon Igesund," Ntseki added.

"Dean Furman has been a revelation for South African football.

Ntseki went on to detail how upon his appointment as head coach he looked at the national team squads and decided to gradually integrate the next two generations of players with an eye to the future.

He identified three different player profiles, breaking them down into four-year age groups consisting of firstly current senior players in the Bafana squad, a second group of players to be gradually given more experience at senior level and finally the next generation of players after that.

"If we gradually integrate the next two generations we will be refreshing, strengthening and taking Bafana Bafana to the next level," Ntseki said.

"As much as we have local players that we are able to watch week in and week out, overseas-based players are also very important and we will follow up on such players."

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