Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki was magnanimous in defeat after two brilliant goals by Ghana condemned South Africa to an agonising 2-0 defeat.
The game on Thursday at the Cape Coast was their opening group fixture of the 2021 Afcon qualifiers. It was also Ntseki’s first official match in charge since he succeeded Stuart Baxter, who resigned in August.
“I think this was a very good match. We are disappointed that we have lost. If you look at the how the two goals were scored it was more about power and strength.
“Credit must be given to the players, I can’t fault them for the effort. They did all they had to do and unfortunately it was not our day,” reacted Ntseki.
“We started a bit slow,” he continued.
“We started enjoying the game towards the second quarter of the match, opening up [the opponents but] they had a very compact defence every time when we penetrated through the middle. And as result we ended up conceding from a transition moment [but] I think our positioning was not that bad.”
Bafana were dealt a blow when Bongani Zungu was forced to leave the pitch in the first half with a knee injury. He will miss Sunday’s second Afcon qualifier against Sudan in Soweto.
Bafana were stunned in the 35th minute when Spain-based midfielder Thomas Partey let rip from long range after the Atletic Madrid player was given ample space in the middle of the part.
Similarly, teenager Mohammed Kudus also netted for the Black Stars after he found a gap through the middle to beat Ronwen Williams with a wonder striker from outside the box.
But Ntseki has not lost hope.
“I am confident with my players even though we lost 2-0. If you look at the game itself, it was more balanced and like I said they had more power and strength in getting the goals. It was not like we were outplayed in a situation we conceded. It happens in football.”
Even the tactical substitutions by Ntseki deep into the second did not shake the Ghanaians.
He brought in Kermit Erasmus in the place of Thembinkosi Lorch while Lebo Mothiba replaced Bradley Grobler at the apex of the attack.
However, Ghana dealt well with the loading as they applied a deep defensive block.
Bafana will next face Group C leaders Sudan at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Sunday, while Ghana will meet Sao Tome and Principe in another pool fixture on Monday.