Bafana Bafana head coach Molefi Ntseki has shared his experiences on his maiden assignment away from home as the main man in charge of the senior national team.
Bafana open their 2021 Afcon qualifying campaign against Ghana in the South Coast on Thursday before they immediately return home to host Sudan in their second group match in Soweto on Sunday.
Ntseki has had little time to prepare the team but said he was rolling with the punches.
“Unfortunately, people don’t understand the challenges you’ll always come up against when you are a national team coach. Time will never be enough,” said Ntseki, who took over the reins from his principal Stuart Baxter in August.
Bafana Bafana head coach Molefi Ntseki a training session in October. Picture: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images
“We are looking forward to the match. We can’t complain much because we know we are in Africa; we are out of the country; outside the comfort of our home, which is South Africa. So, whatever comes our way, we are ready. We have to face it. We must have the confidence, the belief and the faith in ourselves to say despite all the challenges we’ll get maximum results.”
READ: How coach Ntseki wants Bafana to play
The 50-year-old former school teacher also shared some insight into what the team has been up to since they reported for camp on Monday.
“We travelled on Monday throughout the night. We had to have more of a session [Tuesday] of which we struggled because of the conditions [extreme heat] that we are faced with in Ghana,” he said.
“The heat factor will be an issue for both teams because if you look at it, most of the players from Ghana play overseas and so it means they are not used to these conditions here.”
Ntseki added: “We also have players coming from overseas. Our South African players in the PSL have played in the sun where a game will kick off at 3.30pm.
“Yes, this will be a night game but the heat and the humidity will be there but I think we have a way of handling the situation.”
Molefi Ntseki coach of Bafana Bafana. Picture:Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images
“But what else can you do? You can’t ask to play the game any other time that will suit your team. We are here to honour the game and do our best.”
Ntseki, who kicked off his tenure with a 2-1 win over Mali in the annual Nelson Mandela Challenge last month, is confident of another positive result.
He said: “If you look at the history of Bafana, we have been doing well away. Players know they can only be their own supporters.”
“Coming into this one – we have a point to protect. Our chances of qualifying and winning this group will be made possible if we get maximum points against Ghana. We know it’s going to be a tough match, but we are ready for it. We believe we have the qualities to do it.”
Ntseki also commended his backroom staff, particularly the medical team as all the team’s 25 players have a clean bill of health ahead of the game at Ghana’s South Coast.
“Our medical team has done well in terms of helping us with the regeneration mechanisms,” he said.
“The most important regeneration is the mental side of it. Physically, I think our medical team has done very well. We are actually happy that you look at their faces; they have recovered. Mentally, they are ready for the game tomorrow. So it’s a plus also for us going into this match.”
Bafana were due to have their last tactical activation on Wednesday afternoon.
Kick-off is at 9pm on Thursday.