‘GI’ has also recalled a match in the 2013 Afcon tournament when he was in charge of the national side, where they lost 3-1 to the Eagles in the quarter-finals, stating that a quality opponent will help Ntseki.
With the West Africans having reached the Round of 16 in the continental showpiece in Egypt earlier this year as well, the former Bafana mentor has explained that the players will also measure their progress.
“It’s very important for the coach to try and get to understand his players. Mali has got to be tough and it will be an interesting match,” Igesund told Goal.
“Obviously it’s also a good challenge for the players and my memories of the game against Mali was in the 2013 Afcon. I remember the game where we went to the quarter-finals with them and they beat us on penalties.
“They’ll be a good opponent, a good challenge and this gives the coach a chance to learn and understand his players. The players also have a chance to understand what the coach wants from them.
“It’s important to play friendlies especially against a top team like Mali. I think it will be a good build-up to the qualifiers against Ghana.”
The former Premier Soccer League (PSL) winner also backed Ntseki to use the match to implement his methods as well as choosing his best XI.
“This is a perfect opponent for Bafana to measure their quality and it’s important to play as many games as they get. When you have a new coach you need games because he cannot implement his methods in training alone,” continued Igesund.
“He needs to understand the weaknesses and strengths of his team, the formation he wants to play, defending and attacking as well as choosing the best XI.
“Mali will be a big challenge but I am sure he will get confident when playing such games because the match against Ghana will be difficult as they are a West African team.”
The Nelson Mandela Challenge clash will be staged in Port Elizabeth at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Sunday afternoon.