Bafana under pressure as Afcon qualifiers resume
Coach Molefi Ntseki’s charges face Sao Tome and Principe in a decisive qualifier that could determine his fate
Bafana Bafana and other national teams have remained in the shadow of the coronavirus as the world continues to adapt to the realities of a pandemic that has altered everything considered normal.
International football has felt the pandemic, but Bafana have their own role to play in the bigger scheme of things.
Coach Molefi Ntseki’s charges face Sao Tome and Principe in a decisive Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier that could determine the national team coach’s fate by the end of November.
Ntseki conceded he is under pressure to deliver results as Bafana attempt to reassert themselves in the continental showpiece qualifiers.
“It is a responsibility that we are fully aware of that South Africans are very impatient when it comes to Bafana Bafana because it is the pride of the nation. It is what unites the nation.
“When we win games‚ the whole nation will celebrate. When we lose games‚ the whole nation will be up in arms to say they are not happy with Bafana‚ they are not happy with the coach‚ they are not happy with so and so,” he said from Durban at the team’s base in North Beach on Monday.
“In our last meeting when we were addressing the plan going forward with Bafana‚ the turnaround strategy‚ I was talking with the president [Danny Jordaan] to say: ‘Look‚ all that is important for us is to achieve more now that we are in the last two years of Vision 2022’.
“The vision started with the Under-17 team that went to the World Cup in 2014 in Chile. Ever since then we have seen our team qualifying for the Under-17 World Cup‚ the Under-20 World Cup and the Banyana Banyana Olympic teams.
“So now we need to do well for Bafana because I think that everything has been working very well for us.”
Ntseki said he is responsible for a generational change in all the national teams.
“We have three generations of players in the Bafana team‚” he said. “We have the team of [captain] Thulani Hlatshwayo that played in the Afcon 2015‚ we have the team of [Motjeka] Madisha that played in the Olympics in 2016‚ and we have the team of Tebogo Mokoena that is going to the Olympic Games in Tokyo [in 2021].
“So this is the generation that will be very important to take us to the next level.”
SA will host both legs of their qualifier against Sao Tome and Principe in November.
The SA Football Association (Safa) said this week they have sealed an understanding with the islanders to host both ties‚ citing Covid-19 as the main reason for the decision.
Initially, Bafana had been scheduled to host the first match at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on November 13 and then fly to Sao Tome for the second leg on November 16.
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