Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki’s mettle will be tested when his team takes on lowly-ranked Sao Tome Principe in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Durban on Friday night.
Molefi has an inconsistent record as coach of the national side with just two victories to his name. Fortunately for him, the Islanders have agreed to also play their home match in South Africa, in a bid to restrict official and player movement because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ntseki will have himself to blame if he registers a loss against the visitors, who have of late struggled to find the back of the net. Sao Tome and Principe are ranked 82nd in the world, South Africa 72nd. Bafana Bafana have had dismal performances in recent times that even resulted in them now being outside of the top 10 on the continent. They are placed 14th in the CAF rankings behind a country such as Guinea. Ntseki says Bafana Bafana’s plan is to leave a mark in the Africa Cup of Nations.
Bafana Bafana face Sao Tome Principe in AFCON qualifier
“All that is important is the objective and the plan for the team to play all the matches to win and to qualify for Afcon not only that but going into Afcon we need to leave a mark.”
Bafana dropped one place in the world rankings last month, following dismal performances against Namibia and Zambia in friendly internationals. But they should easily pocket the six points in their two Group C 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers starting in Durban this evening.
Despite having to chop and change his squad because of injuries and a COVID-19 positive test, Ntseki should overcome Sao Tome and Principe hurdle with ease. Ntseki was forced to call up Musa Lebusa, Vincent Pule, Thapelo Morena, Tshepo Rikhotso and Thabo Nodada and now has a team that is a blend of youth and experience.
“And I think what is very important for all of us is that we have three generations of players in the Bafana Bafana team. We have the team of Thulani Hlatshwayo that played in the Afcon in 2015. We have a team of Madisha that played in the Olympics in 2016 we have a team of Tebogo Mokoena that will be going to the Olympics now in Tokyo, so this is the generation that will be very important to take us through to the next level.”
Bafana will play their home match at the Moses Mabhida Stadium at 9pm this evening. Sao Tome and Principe will host Bafana Bafana in the second leg at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Monday.