Komphela throws his support behind Ntseki
Ntseki’s charges outplayed Mali, knocking the ball around with ease and playing with a lot of creativity that wasn’t around under previous Bafana coach Stuart Baxter who focused more on defending than attacking.
Bafana looked deadly going forward in the 2-1 win in the Nelson Mandela Challenge in what was coach Ntseki’s first match in charge of the team. The defence looked solid even though it was put under the cosh in the second half when the players took their foot off the pedal. Ntseki has to build on the positives and address the team’s shortcoming ahead of their first major test when they take on Ghana in a 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier next month.
“We wish him the very best, as always,” Komphela said. “He’s got our support and he must enjoy the moment. He must ride his understanding of South African players and the South African game. He must try and play the game that he believes in, a game that will benefit South Africa. There’s nothing as bad as being in an environment and you play according to how people expect you to play but it’s not you and when you lose, you blame yourself. He must be himself and enjoy the moment because he is a part of the team’s history.”
Ntseki’s rise to the job made sense, as he has worked with every junior national team and even helped with the women’s national teams. He also served as assistant to former Bafana coaches like Shakes Mashaba and Baxter. His lengthy period at Safa House and working with some of the current Bafana players at junior and senior level has made for a smooth transition.
Ntseki spoke about wanting to play a SA brand of football, and that was evident in the friendly against Mali. But the real success will be doing that consistently in competitive matches. After visiting Ghana, Bafana will host Sudan and then take on Sao Tome and Principe who complete their Afcon qualifying group.
“He has an added advantage in that he worked with the players,” Komphela said. “A lot of the players come from the junior ranks where he interacted with them. The likes of (Kamohelo) Mokotjo, when they worked with Serame Letsoaka at Under-20, he was there along with the likes of (Thulani) Serero. They worked with Molefi.”