Ntseki: I never said Bongani Zungu will never play for Bafana Bafana
Zungu is set to meet with Ntseki and Safa as soon as he returns to South Africa from France. The mercurial Zungu is a rising star for the national senior men’s team, but was left out of the squad that was scheduled to face Sao Tome and Principe in back-to-back 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The talented midfielder didn’t take his omission well and expressed his dejection on social media. But Ntseki insisted that he doesn’t hold a grudge against Zungu.
“I kept on saying Zungu is like any other South African player that is eligible to play for Bafana Bafana. I never said Zungu will never play for Bafana Bafana,” Ntseki said in an exclusive interview with IOL Sport.
“But in terms of our selection criteria, everything that has to do with the game itself, the challenges, preparations and travelling, we felt certain players shouldn’t be part of that team and certain players should be selected for that camp.”
Zungu was the standout performer for Bafana at Afcon last year in Egypt.
“I don’t have anything personal against anybody. If I have to draw a list of players that were supposed to have been selected and explain to you each why he was not selected, I think, we will talk the whole day. We are also giving too much attention to Zungu not being selected. It disadvantages other players that we are not talking about,” Ntseki added.
Zungu is going through a torrid time of late after his club side Amiens were relegated from Ligue 1.
“Every parent, every South African and every coach would love to see a player of Zungu’s calibre, a player of Lebo Phiri’s calibre and Kamohelo Mokotjo’s calibre doing very well wherever they are,” Ntseki said.
“If they play consistently and become winners, they will bring that mentality to the national team.
“When you see a team like Amiens getting relegated, it’s also not good for our player - in this case Zungu. It’s not a good feeling because it’s on your CV,” Ntseki said.