Bafana Bafana head coach Molefi Ntseki says the 25 players that were selected for the AFCON qualifier against Sao Tome and Principe will have to prove themselves once again to keep their places in the squad.
South Africa were poised to play twice against the Islanders, but the fear of the coronavirus saw CAF postpone all qualifiers.
Ntseki had made nine changes to the team that played in the last qualifiers, with the likes of Itumeleng Khune and Thabo Matlaba making their return to the squad.
“Yes, look it’s a setback for all of us and some of them were selected for the first time to be in the Bafana Bafana team and they were looking forward to play for their country, and to do well, and to impress in terms of their performances,” said Ntseki.
“So even for the selectors we did our homework over a period of six months to come up with these players so, it is really bad for all of us to say, we are not going to see those players playing.
“We are not going to have those players in camp, and even those players who have done very well in the past six months or so, they were free from injuries, they were on top of their game the form was very good, the attitude was very right,” added Ntseki.
“So actually, we were celebrating to have such players in the team, and I know for a fact that even some of those players were celebrating to be in the team. So, I can just wish them all the best of luck, injury-free season whenever we resume with our games, and then they should just keep on working very hard.”
The Bafana coach went to say that the squad selected is full of good quality players that can produce the “best performances for the national team.”
“I think that will be good for all us (selecting the team all over again) because let’s say I have selected player B, and the player B gets injured and he can’t avail himself for Bafana Bafana, it means we have to select somebody else who is doing very well in that position. So that will apply to all positions, that will apply to the players,” he said.
“Unfortunately, it’s not only for us as South Africa, but it’s affecting the whole of Africa, the whole of FIFA.
“We were looking forward to have our Olympic team doing well in the Olympics and trying to channel all our energies in making sure that we select the best players for the Olympic team, that will be able to play in the Olympics,
“And then hopefully when they comeback from the Olympics they’ll be ready for Bafana Bafana. So, it’s a setback in ways more than one. And then when it comes to Bafana Bafana, we have a situation where we can only play during FIFA week.
“If ever we have a FIFA week and we can’t play, it’s also another big setback for us because to get the rhythm right, to get the understanding right, players have to play, players have to go through the training sessions. So now that we are not gonna have that opportunity of sticking together, training together, playing together, ja it is going to affect us in a negative way.
“But it is not of our own making or of somebody else’s making, it’s just epidemic that we are all faced with. Hopefully things will come right in the next few days, next few weeks, next month maybe will be improving for the better,”concluded.
By Musa Nhlapo