JOHANNESBURG – Molefi Ntseki’s elevation to the caretaker coach position of South Africa’s senior national football side - Bafana Bafana - is the most logical decision the South African Football Association (Safa) could have taken.
Following Stuart Baxter’s resignation on Friday, the Safa technical committee met on Saturday and agreed that putting Ntseki in temporary charge of the squad while they appoint a task team to help them search for a new coach was the route to go.
Ntseki was Baxter’s assistant since the Briton took over the squad for a second term two years ago. Baxter first coached Bafana in 2004.
It therefore made sense that the man who has been with the squad for a while and thus not only understands the direction Baxter was trying to take but also has rapport with the players should hold fort while the search went on.
It is highly unlikely Ntseki will be given the job on a full-time basis, although his experience in Safa ranks suggests it will count in his favour.
Besides having assisted Baxter, the man from the Free State also holds the national Under-17 coaching post and has done so for a while now. Four years ago he led the junior side to qualifying for the world championships.
A former schoolteacher, Ntseki was also at the 2009 Under-20 Fifa World Championships as Serame Letsoaka’s assistant, and the duo led Amajita to the round of 16. He served in that role under Macsood Chenia as well as Solly Luvhengo, and later assisted Shakes Mashaba at Under-23 level.
Ntseki cut his coaching teeth with Harmony Academy before national duty beckoned and he has been a loyal servant of Safa since, assisting the women’s teams when called upon to.
With Bafana’s next match only in November - an African Cup of Nations qualifier against Ghana - it could well be that Safa will have appointed a new coach before Ntseki gets to lead the side in a competitive match.
But the elevation will definitely do his confidence a world of good. The possibility of holding the country’s premier coaching job does exist.