Molefi Ntseki has cast doubt on his future as Bafana Bafana head coach, taking responsibility for the national team’s failure to secure a place at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) to be staged in Cameroon.
Sudan comfortably beat a lacklustre Bafana side 2-0 at Al-Hilal Stadium in Omdurman on Sunday, a result that shocked the nation’s football supporters.
Bafana needed just a draw to book their spot but the defeat in Sudan sealed Ntseki’s troops’ fate as they finished third in Group C with Sudan joining Ghana as the two nations in the Group to qualify for next year’s continental showpiece.
“It is a disappointment for all of us if you look at how we started, we were very positive and looking forward to qualifying. If you look at the games we won, the points we accumulated, we became very confident, and the expectations were created to say we will qualify,” said Ntseki.
“Drawing against Ghana at home made life difficult for us going into Sudan. We knew it would be a foreign land with foreign challenges. The travelling also … having to travel immediately after the [Ghana] game, one session preparation and then we play a match.
“We started on the wrong foot by conceding early. The idea was not to concede. We started the game with a point and didn’t want to lose that point. But we allowed the Sudanese to take maximum points.
“The boys tried very hard. We missed chances, and missing chances does not win you games. We tried to make changes to the personnel and tactically, but we could not get a goal or equalise, just to keep the point we had,” added the Bafana coach.
Ntseki, who is now staring down the barrel of a loaded gun, went on to admit that he has let the nation down and accepted that Bafana’s Afcon qualification campaign will do down as a “failure”.
“The disappointment is not only for us, but the big disappointment is for the South African Football Association, because for Safa, the objective is very clear. It is to see the team qualifying for every continental and world tournament so that we can put Bafana Bafana on the map again in terms of the type of football we play and the results we get,” he said.
“We are very much aware of the disappointment and emotional pain we have caused South Africans. The pain is more from us because we were almost there in Cameroon.
“As a coach and head of the selection committee and head of the team, my disappointment is huge. It is huge for my personal growth and my personal achievements as a coach. The success of the team is also my success and the failure of the team starts with me, to say ‘I have failed as a coach’.
“In football, we need to own up because when there is success, you become everybody’s favourite, but when there is failure, you become an orphan and everybody is looking to say you failed the team,” concluded Ntseki.
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By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi