New Bafana coach Ntseki shrugs off sceptics
The recently confirmed manager says he is more focused on his job than on naysayers
New Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki says he has been around long enough not to be overly concerned about those questioning his credentials to coach the senior national football team.
Ntseki was officially presented to the media on Monday and questions regarding his suitability for the top job were aplenty.
“The future looks very green‚” said Ntseki when he was presented with a green Bafana jersey by acting Safa CEO Russell Paul.
In a bid to reassure sceptics about his credentials, he said he had been a coach for 21 years. “I started in 1999 after going through an operation. I got injured and ended my playing career. So I would say that’s how I started.”
The former school teacher was asked how he reacted when he received the confirmation of his appointment on Saturday.
“When I got the call the first time [for the caretaker role‚ soon after predecessor Stuart Baxter’s resignation on August 2]‚ I behaved the same way as the second time‚” Ntseki said.
“I smiled. But when I was about to celebrate‚ the reality crept in to say that now that you’re in charge‚ now it’s a responsibility and an opportunity.
“If I look at what happened to my predecessors, it means I should have a way of understanding the environment even before you can start in operating within that environment.”
The former SA Under-17 head coach said he was not concerned about the scepticism some have expressed since his appointment.
“Everybody has got a right to his or her opinion‚” said the 50-year-old coach from the Free State.
“At times you’ve got an opinion about somebody because you don’t know that person.
“And at times you’ve got an opinion about somebody because you think you know that person.
“But all that is important is the opportunity that has been given to me. I’m not in this position to prove anything to anybody‚ but I’m in this position to serve my country and to do the best that I can.
“I think I’m in this position to get the best out of our players, who I think‚ with that understanding and that rapport‚ they will get the best out of me.”
Ntseki will have his first match as Bafana head coach when they tackle Madagascar at Orlando Stadium on Saturday in an international friendly.
The match had to be hastily arranged as Zambia’s FA cancelled Saturday’s game in Lusaka‚ where their national team would have hosted Bafana‚ in response to the latest wave of xenophobic attacks in SA.
The real big test for Ntseki will come when Bafana begin their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Ghana and Sudan in back-to-back matches in November.