“Life has taught me a number of things in terms of how you pave your own way, how you pave your own footpath, because if you follow someone’s path, it will be a challenge,” said Molefi Ntseki. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – There will be nothing friendly about Bafana Bafana’s clash with Zambia on Saturday next week in Lusaka, with two interim coaches in charge of the southern African rivals.

Aggrey Chiyangi and Molefi Ntseki will both be looking to impress when they come up against each other with their respective associations looking for a coach to hire on a permanent basis.

The Football Association of Zambia thought they had found their man in former Bloemfontein Celtic coach Veselin Jelusic.

But the government rejected that appointment, saying Jelusic doesn’t have the pedigree to lead Chipolopolo, and saying they wouldn’t issue the Serbian with a work permit.

This gives Chiyangi an opportunity to impress and build on his already impressive South African giant-killing spree, after leading Green Eagles past Orlando Pirates in the Caf Champions League preliminary round in their first involvement in a competition Pirates won in 1995.

“For us, the friendly against South Africa is a very important game,” Chiyangi said.

“Firstly, we are preparing for the Chan (African Nations Championship). We have a game against Swaziland.

“ At the same time, we are trying to bring together a team that will play in the Afcon (Africa Cup of Nations) qualifiers.

“That’s why we are trying to bring these players together to ensure that we have a foundation.

“We are going to mix players for Chan and those who are going to play in the Afcon qualifiers, so for us, it’s a very important friendly.”

Ntseki will be looking to impress against Zambia. The former Bafana assistant coach has raised his hand as a possible candidate as Stuart Baxter’s replacement.

He has deputised for Baxter and Shakes Mashaba in the senior national team, and plans to use this match to show the SA Football Association he is ready to step into the head coach role.

Bafana will be using this match as part of their preparations for the Afcon qualifiers in November that will see them visit Ghana in their opening match, and then host Sudan.

Ntseki kept the core of the team that did battle in the 2019 Afcon in Egypt, and rested some players who were in that campaign, but had been involved in a gruelling season in the domestic league.

He stamped his authority by giving a chance to some players who were sidelined during Baxter’s era.

Ntseki’s advantage is that he knows a number of the players in the team from when they were teenagers.

He worked with Kermit Erasmus, captain Thulani Hlatshwayo, Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Darren Keet, Thulani Serero and Kamohelo Mokotjo in the Under-20s during their World Cup campaign in Egypt in 2009, as Serame Letsoaka’s assistant.

“Life has taught me a number of things in terms of how you pave your own way, how you pave your own footpath, because if you follow someone’s path, it will be a challenge,” Ntseki said.

“You must create your own footpath and become a leader in your creation of your own destiny.

“I would like to thank all my predecessors who have been on this chair and have done this before. I have learned so much from them.”

The Star

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