Hard work ahead for Ntseki
It’s a mighty tough act to follow, but Springbok rugby coach Rassie Erasmus has raised the bar for new Bafana Bafana soccer coach Molefi Ntseki.
With South Africans still basking in the reflected glory of the Springboks’ World Cup rugby victory in Japan, Bafana want to keep the feel-good factor alive.
Ambitious Bafana coach Ntseki will have time on his side as he bids to earn his team a coveted berth at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cameroon.
After mixed fortunes in his opening two games, Ntseki’s charges will next be in action against minnows Sao Tome e Principe in a home and away double header in August.
There will also be vital World Cup qualifying matches for Bafana in March as Ntseki fine-tunes his squad.
The break before Bafana’s next Afcon clash will allow Ntseki to run the rule over possible candidates who can provide extra firepower.
It promises to be a tight battle for qualification and there is bound to be drama along the way as teams jostle for the top two positions on the log.
After losing to Ghana in their opening fixture, Bafana got their campaign back on track with a vital 1-0 win over Sudan at Orlando Stadium.
But it was a performance Bafana will have to improve on if they want to join the continent’s elite footballing powerhouses in Cameroon.
After the opening two games, Ghana top Bafana’s group after they backed up their opening win over Bafana with a narrow 1-0 win over Sao Tome e Principe.
The tussle for a place in Cameroon now appears to be two-horse race between Bafana and Sudan.
Ghana have six points so far‚ while Bafana are second with three points which puts them above Sudan on the head-to-head rule.
Against Ghana, the Sao Tome e Principe side were physical but barely packed any sort of punch up front, and Nseki will have noticed they showed little ambition to go forward‚ but kept their shape well and made it hard for Ghana create anything clear-cut.
Though Bafana got all the three points on offer in Soweto, they made heavy weather of the win and failed to overpower an average Sudan side that is ranked 128 on the Fifa rankings.
After the Ghana game, a frustrated Ntseki said he felt his team could have earned a draw.
Despite Bafana having put up a fighting performance in defence‚ they are offering little on the counterattack and this proved costly.
This is one area of Bafana’s game Ntseki must fix if he wants to keep SA’s flag flying high.