As Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki looks to make his debut in charge of the national team, retired defender David Kannemeyer has urged the supporters to give the new manager an opportunity to find his best XI.
Kannemeyer expects a tough encounter against the Eagles of Mali on Sunday in the Nelson Mandela Challenge clash but wants the players to enjoy themselves and impress the new manager.
On the other hand, the Cape Town-based legend believes the absence of the likes of Bongani Zungu grants Ntseki an opportunity to test all his players that are in camp.
“I think everyone is waiting to see the coach’s style of play and his first 11 as well as his best 18. It’s very interesting,” Kannemeyer told Goal.
“However, I think it should not be a case of supporters hoping to see a win but let’s give the coach an opportunity to experiment with his combinations, how he wants to play in terms of style.
“I would take this match as a practice game where he wants to test the tactics because we have to remember that we are preparing for a big one against Ghana [in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers].
“Unfortunately South African supporters are not like that and his head is on the block from the first game.”
With the camp having been destabilized with a number of injuries where midfielder Zungu and defender Thamsanqa Mkhize have been withdrawn, whilst Percy Tau remains doubtful for the clash, the former Kaizer Chiefs defender demands equal trust in the players.
“I think there has to be that trust and belief in all the players that are in camp. Injuries are part of the game and we need to start to have faith in the players that are invited to camp,” added the retired left-back.
“You know this is what hurt the team of 2000 which played well during the Olympics in 2000, some of these players were never given a chance.
“We have good junior teams but the players never progress and reach their full potential because of lack of chances. We will need to have continuity, development, and progress as a nation and that has to happen by giving the young boys a chance.
“I think that is why we have been struggling at the senior level. It’s more than 20 years since winning the Afcon but we don’t see any progress. I hope the coach will also look to rectify those mistakes going forward.”
Coming back to the West Africans, the Magic FC manager is confident the clash will provide a good test for the new coach as he looks to qualify for the next Afcon tournament in Cameroon, ahead of the qualifying match against the Black Stars next month.
“They are always a difficult opponent, there is no doubt about that. Mali will prove to be a good opponent for our players to test their progress after the Afcon in Egypt,” he continued.
“I hope they just go there and enjoy themselves, play for each other and look to follow the coach’s instructions.
“The people in Port Elizabeth are hungry like the ones in Durban, they always come out to support Bafana and I expect a good game of football. It’s a perfect opportunity for the players to impress the coach.”