Bafana coach Ntseki turns focus to Ghana qualifier
Mentor says not having his regular defensive players had an effect on the team’s performance against São Tomé
Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki is hoping to have all hands on deck as he looks to shore up his defence for the next Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Ghana in March next year.
Bafana rounded off back-to-back victories over São Tomé and Príncipe in beating them 4-2 at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Monday. That was after a 2-0 win over The Falcons at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Friday.
The six points have Bafana well placed in Group C and they will look to continue their winning ways in their next two fixtures against Ghana and Sudan.
Ntseki said not having his regular defensive players had an effect on the team’s performance against São Tomé.
“We have lost eight of our players that we wanted to bring into the camp‚” Ntseki said. “We are hopeful that when March’s Fifa week comes all 50 players will be available to play for the national team.
“If you look at our defence in particular‚ it’s a new set. It was only [Thulani] Hlatshwayo who played in the Afcon and against Sudan.
“You have Buhle Mkhwanazi who is not here — Eric Mathoho‚ Thami Mkhize and Sifiso Hlanti. So it tells you something about the team defensively. But I am not saying the guys who played today did not do their part,” he said of Monday’s game.
“I am just pointing out the experience that we missed coming into this match‚ especially in dealing with a direct approach like Sao Tome’s.”
The coach said they are aware of Ghana’s attacking prowess but he believes the team will be fine as long as Bafana have a full squad to call on.
Though SA managed to win both their matches against Sao Tome‚ Ntseki said Monday’s result was not a true reflection of the game.
“We had a very good analysis of the opponent and we were expecting them to come at us because they have nothing to lose and for them to get a goal ... you could see that it was something that they were gunning for in terms of their direct play.
“We did our part in dealing with the situation but unfortunately we conceded from set play for the first goal,” he said, adding that the team “did not apply ourselves properly”.
“We are the ones who did not charge the ball. We are the ones who did not get organised quickly enough.
“As much as we made mistakes, we are professionals. We believed this is one game we are going to win if we execute our plans properly, depend on our abilities as individuals and as a team.
“We missed too many chances. When you have opponents that are determined, you get more worried about the chances you miss. I think we held ourselves very well even after conceding,” he said.
“We came back. Going into the second half, we made some technical changes and we addressed certain expects of the game that won us the match.”
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