Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki. Picture: SYDNEY SESHIBEDI / GALLO IMAGES
Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki. Picture: SYDNEY SESHIBEDI / GALLO IMAGES

When Bafana Bafana take on Mali in the Nelson Mandela Challenge in Port Elizabeth on Sunday‚ it will be their first match since the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Egypt in June.

Bafana‚ who missed an opportunity to play two matches in September‚ have scheduled only one friendly during this Fifa open window and coach Molefi Ntseki said it was beyond his control.

“For a coach‚ you will never say time is enough to prepare‚” said Ntseki. “Even if you are a Premier League coach‚ you prepare every day and every week‚ but every opportunity you have to be on the pitch with the players‚ you will always cherish that moment.

“It is true that we could not play friendly matches or preparation matches coming into this match and the Afcon qualifiers against Ghana and Sudan‚ but what can you do? Things were beyond our control.

“All that is important now is to make use of this opportunity of being with the team for five to six days‚ where we will assess and see if we can easily understand each other in a short time. At this level‚ you can easily relate to the players in terms of professionalism and technical understanding of the game.”

Ntseki said he will use this week’s camp to bring cohesion and technical understanding among the players and to prepare for the matches against Ghana and Sudan.

“We need to prepare ourselves in such a way that will say this is how we want to play defensively and offensively. We always want to look at our opponents and prepare ourselves according to the strengths and weaknesses.

“The game against Mali is for us to establish ourselves as a Bafana team that is led by Molefi Ntseki and the rest of his technical team. There are new and old faces and we need to bring that unity in the team and the sense of being patriotic and wearing the jersey with pride.

“Going into the match against Mali‚ it will be part of preparations so that when we go into the back-to-back Afcon qualifiers against Ghana and Sudan we know we have an identity to say this is how we play defensively and offensively and there is an understanding among all the players.”