Bafana Bafana coach Molefe Ntseki has the perfect shot to prove critics wrong. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

DURBAN - How many times have reputations failed the South African Football Association (Safa) in the past?

The answer to that question is simple and straightforward: Too many. Safa hired Carlos Alberto Parreira as Bafana Bafana coach ahead of the 2010 Fifa World Cup on home soil, and what did the then revered Brazilian do for the nation? Bafana became the first World Cup hosts to crash out of the group stage.

To think that Bafana had a former World Cup-winning coach in charge of them. Parreira came at a huge cost to Safa but the massive expectations the country had on the Brazilian with a reputation came to nought.

Gordon Igesund also came with a glowing CV, the Durbanite boasting four league titles with different teams in the Premier Soccer League. Surely that meant Bafana were on the road to success? But no. Under his tenure, Bafana failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

It was the same scenario when Safa appointed Phillippe Troussier as head coach before the country’s debut at the 1998 World Cup in France. So it is clear, then, that reputation doesn’t guarantee success. In football you are only as good as your last game.

I know that football lovers have already started to have doubts about Molefi Ntseki, but that is normal in football. In life you must just accept that there are people who will always doubt your abilities, but that doesn’t mean you are bad or you will fail.

Ntseki is in a similar situation. He is not a high profile manager and therefore people will doubt his ability, but that doesn’t mean he will fail in his new position.

I actually believe that Ntseki is in a better situation. Yes, it must be disheartening when people doubt your ability, but Ntseki is a calm figure and will know how to handle the pressure.

Sometimes it is nice to be in a situation where you are an underdog; the pressure is less intense.

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Ntseki has an opportunity to silence his doubters by delivering the goods. All the people want is a winning team. Ntseki is experienced enough to know that. He has been with Safa for the past decade having served as the national Under-17 coach. He was also assistant coach to Serame Letsoaka in 2009 when the Under-20 national team qualified for the World Cup in Egypt.

Back then he worked with the likes of Kermit Erasmus, Kamohelo Mokotjo, Darren Keet, Ramahlwe Mphahlele and Thulani Hlatshwayo.

Ntseki also assisted both Stuart Baxter and Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba at Bafana. He knows all about the politics of Safa. Unlike the big-name coaches Safa tried out who came into the job cold, Ntseki is well versed with what it means to head the country’s national team, and my gut feel is that he will do way better than those.

@Minenhlecr7


The Mercury

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