Former Bafana Bafana coach Pitso Mosimane has welcomed the decision to appoint Molefi Ntseki as the coach of the senior national team - and has called on South Africans to back the 50-year-old.
Ntseki’s appointment has been met with scepticism from certain quarters. Much of Ntseki’s success isn’t tangible, but he has left a mark in his more than two decades long coaching career, and made history along the way. He led the national Under-17 team to their first World Cup appearance in 2015. He was Serame Letsoaka’s assistant when the Under-20 national team reached the last 16 of the 2009 World Cup.
That performance remains the best display by a South African football team at a World Cup. He is also the only South African coach to have managed at the Africa Cup of Nations at all levels, from Under-17 to Under-20, Under-23 and right up to Bafana. Ntseki also served as an assistant coach to Stuart Baxter, Shakes Mashaba and Owen da Gama at Bafana.
“Somebody has to be appointed,” Mosimane said on Sunday.
“We can’t dilly-dally. We’ve got to have a coach. We have games coming, Afcon and World Cup qualifiers. The guy has been at Safa for a long time. He knows the youth structures at Safa. Some of the guys in the senior team, he coached them when they were young. He hasn’t done badly as he took us to the (Under-17) World Cup.
“Why don’t we give him a chance? Who do we want there? I am happy that he is a local coach and he is a good guy. I know him well. I am there to support and help him whichever way I can. I am not unhappy with his appointment. For me, it’s okay. Why not?” Mosimane said.
Ntseki’s first assignment is an international friendly against Zambia on Saturday in Lusaka. He spoke about ensuring that the transition from Baxter to himself was smooth by having a good induction with the players.
Yesterday the team held their first training session under Ntseki. They will depart for Lusaka on Thursday. But his first major test will be Bafana’s clash with Ghana away in the Afcon qualifiers in November, before hosting Sudan.
Ntseki had a conversation with most PSL coaches before naming his squad.
“He spoke to Gavin Hunt, Benni (McCarthy) and me,” Mosimane said. “He is going the right way. He has to make a decision who he plays, who he picks. It’s his story. Anything is possible. He’s got the best players in the country. How bad can it be?
“You’ve got the players, they will play. All he has to do as the coach of Bafana is to manage the egos and the pressure from you guys (the media).
He must select the right team. That’s how you get the accolades. I also thought that other guys would get a chance, but it’s okay.
What is important is that South Africa has a coach.”