Attack the best form of defence‚ says Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki
Physical Malians will be a challenge
Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki says his team will not take a step backwards‚ promising a front foot‚ attacking approach when they meet Mali in the Nelson Mandela Challenge at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Sunday (3pm).
The match will be Ntseki’s first as head coach of the national team after his appointment in August and he says attack will be the best form of defence as he searches for a victory first up against Mali.
“We are a very offensive team and we will be starting on the front foot‚” Ntseki said. “We are playing at home and we are preparing for the Afcon [Africa Cup of Nations] qualifiers so we need to be very offensive. By being offensive as a team you are likely to score goals and win matches.
“When playing offensive football you also need to have stability and balance in defence‚ because if you don’t concede it means that you are likely to win the match.
“So by us being offensive it will help the team to get goals and also help us to get a defensive discipline not to concede goals.”
Having said that the coach is aware it will not be easy playing against a very physical Mali‚ and said SA would have to grind hard to get the result they are looking for.
“We have seen them [Mali] play in the Afcon — they did very well. They are a highly physical team‚” Ntseki said.
“Most of their players are playing abroad and they are highly technical‚ but I think we are a very balanced team because of the type of players we have in the team.”
Ntseki has a number of injury concerns and had to make some changes to his squad ahead of the Mali fixture.
Cape Town City skipper Thamsanqa Mkhize‚ Bidvest Wits goalkeeper Brandon Petersen and midfielder Bongani Zungu have been withdrawn from the squad due to injuries.
Petersen and defender Mkhize were replaced by Ricardo Goss of Bidvest Wits and Tshepo Rikhotso of Bloemfontein Celtic. Mothobi Mvala of Highlands Park was called up to take the place of Zungu.
The coach said the injuries have not affected his planning.
“We have a database and a player audit where you place players according to their positions. Maybe in one position you will have four or five players.
“So if any of those players get injured we will just look into our database and replace that player.”
Ntseki said when profiling players for selection his aim is to bring balance into the team.
“I think we have achieved that apart from those who got injured. We had to replace them with other capable players‚” he said.