Safa explains why Molefi Ntseki was appointed Bafana Bafana full time coach

31 August 2019 - 18:59 By Marc Strydom
Molefi Ntseki with former Bafana Bafana head coach Stuart Baxter.
Molefi Ntseki with former Bafana Bafana head coach Stuart Baxter.
Image: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

A big factor in new Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki’s surprise appointment on Saturday was his deep understanding of SA football, SA Football Association (Safa) acting chief executive Russell Paul has said.

That, and also an inside knowledge of the workings of Bafana and Safa, Paul added.

Ntseki’s lack of top-flight head coaching experience and low profile are sure to raise questions after Safa abruptly announced his appointment for the full-time Bafana job following a Safa Council meeting at Safa House on Saturday.

The former assistant to predecessor Stuart Baxter, who resigned on August 2 following the July quarterfinal exit at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon), takes the Bafana reigns entrusted with qualifying for the 2021 Afcon finals in Cameroon and 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar.

Ntseki’s head coaching experience is with the national Under-17 team, who the 50-year-old steered to runners-up at the 2015 African U-17 Championship in Niger and a group stage exit at the Fifa U-17 World Cup in Chile that year.

Molefi Ntseki is a student of the game and knows the SA football structures inside out, says Safa acting chief executive Russell Paul.
Molefi Ntseki is a student of the game and knows the SA football structures inside out, says Safa acting chief executive Russell Paul.
Image: Mahlatse Mphahlele

Paul was asked what the strengths are that prompted Safa’s technical committee to put Ntseki forward as their lone recommendation on Saturday, and then convinced the Safa Coucil, the highest decision-making body in between conferences, to endorse that proposal.

“We’ve said that part of the criteria was somebody who understands South African football and the path that we want to go,” Safa’s acting boss said.

“We have had major qualification successes of our Under-17, U-20 and U23 teams and we believe one of the factors that counts in his favour is that he has an opportunity [to transfer such success to the senior team], and he knows how to harness that.

“He took the U-17s to the World Cup, he’s been integrally involved with Banyana Banyana in their preparations for the World Cup and Afcon and other things.

Stuart Baxter resigned as Bafana Bafana coach on August 2.
Stuart Baxter resigned as Bafana Bafana coach on August 2.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

“So he understands the [national team and Safa] philosophy. And he’s a student.”

Before coaching the SA U-17s, Ntseki was influential in Bloemfontein Celtic’s youth system as their assistant-coach, and unearthed current SuperSport United starlets Teboho Mokoena and Sipho Mbule as co-founder of the Harmony Academy in the Free State.

He was assistant-coach in 2009 for Serame Letsoaka’s team that reached the last-16 of the Fifa U-20 World Cup, many of whom now play for Bafana.

Ntseki had already been announced earlier as Bafana caretaker-coach for next Saturday's international friendly against Zambia in Lusaka. He now takes charge of the match as national team head coach.

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