Football

I have failed as Bafana Bafana coach – Ntseki owns up to Afcon failure as axe hovers on his head.

The South Africa coach faces a bleak future after his team blew a chance for a successive appearance at the continental tournament

Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki has accepted responsibility for his team’s failure to secure a ticket for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals.

A 2-0 defeat away in Sudan on Sunday shattered South Africa’s hopes of appearing at the Afcon finals to be staged in Cameroon in January 2022.

The loss in Sudan completed a difficult finish to their qualifying campaign after they were held 1-1 by Ghana at home three days earlier to end placed third in Group C.

Arriving in Sudan second on the table, tied on 10 points with group leaders Ghana, one point ahead of Sudan, and needing just a point to seal qualification, Bafana Bafana crumbled in Omdurman after conceding two first-half goals.

“Yah [I own up to this defeat]. I think as the head coach of Bafana Bafana I came up with a turnaround strategy and I think everything started very well because we managed to accumulate 10 points and we just needed a point to qualify,” Ntseki told Safa’s media.

“Yes as a coach, as head of the selection committee, as head of the team my disappointment is huge. It is very huge for my personal growth, my personal achievements as a coach of Bafana Bafana because the success of the team is also my success.

“The failure of the team firstly starts with me to say I have failed as a coach because in football we need to own up.

“When there is success you become everybody’s favourite but when there is failure, you become an orphan. Everybody is looking up to you to say you failed the team, you could not qualify.

“But things like this do happen in football and we own up need to be very strong to say yes the team did not qualify.

“I wanted as an individual, as a South African to see my country and my team playing at Afcon. It is a big disappointment for me.”

While accepting blame for the team’s failure to make it for a second-successive Afcon finals, Ntseki has also pointed that other factors were at play.

South Africa lost striker Bradley Grobler and Kermit Erasmus to injury before the Ghana match and they had to leave  Andile Jali behind for the Sudan trip, after he strained his groin during the draw against the Black Stars.

Dean Furman and France-based Keagan Dolly were not released by their clubs for international assignments due to Covid-19 restrictions, while Bongani Zungu pulled out of the trip to Sudan following earlier assurances that he would be available.

“We need to be very honest with ourselves in terms of the challenges that we came up against coming into the Ghana and Sudan matches,” continued. Ntseki.

“Because of Covid, we could not get our regular players for. Again, with the players we brought in who did very well against Ghana, we were looking forward to have them against Sudan. But they were excused from the team because of injuries.

“We had to start afresh in terms of bringing in new playing personnel so it is just unfortunate that we are talking about a team that was almost about to qualify. But us not winning and not getting a point from Sudan we are out of the tournament.

“We can’t even see South Africa playing at the tournament which was our main objective.”

Talk that Ntseki could be fired soon has already gained traction.

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