Bafana coach Ntseki not crying over limited Afcon qualifiers preparation time

The Mali game would be South Africa's first match since exiting the Afcon tournament in July

South Africa coach Molefi Ntseki has refused to rue September’s missed international friendly opportunities against Zambia and Madagascar, saying everything was beyond their control.

Bafana Bafana are set to play Mali in the Nelson Mandela Challenge at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on October 13.

It would be their first match since July when they were knocked out of the Africa Cup of Nations by Nigeria at the quarter-final stage.

But after having a scheduled friendly match against Zambia and later on Madagascar cancelled in September, new Bafana coach Ntseki is not complaining about lost chances for game-time.

“For a coach‚ you will never say time is enough to prepare‚” said Ntseki as per TimesLive.

“It is true that we could not play friendly matches or preparation matches coming into this match and the Afcon qualifiers against Ghana and Sudan, but what can you do? Things were beyond our control.

“All that is important now is to make use of this opportunity of being with the team for five to six days, where we will assess and see if we can easily understand each other in a short time. At this level‚ you can easily relate to the players in terms of professionalism and technical understanding of the game.”

Ntseki stressed on what he intends to achieve after the Mali game as they prepare for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, which begin in November.

“The game against Mali is for us to establish ourselves as a Bafana team that is led by Molefi Ntseki and the rest of his technical team. There are new and old faces and we need to bring that unity in the team and the sense of being patriotic and wearing the jersey with pride," he added.

“Going into the match against Mali‚ it will be part of preparations so that when we go into the back-to-back Afcon qualifiers against Ghana and Sudan we know we have an identity to say this is how we play defensively and offensively and there is an understanding among all the players.”

South Africa are in Group C of the 2021 Afcon qualifiers in a pool that include Ghana, Sudan as well as the preliminary round winner between Mauritius and Sao Tome e Principe.

As the road to Cameroon 20121 is about to begin, Ntseki has maintained his trust in Arthur Zwane and Trott Moloto, by retaining them as assistant coach and technical adviser, respectively.

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“The technical team remains the same because‚ honestly‚ we could not play a match the last time. If we have to change‚ we change based on what?‚” Ntseki said.

“That was the question I was asking myself‚ I said let’s gives ourselves a chance and if ever we need to beef up our technical team let’s do so.”

The Mali match will be Ntseki's first game as Bafana coach and he comes into this job having worked as assistant to his predecessor Stuart Baxter.