You can’t buy experience – Ntseki defends Bafana Bafana team selection



The 51-year tactician is happy his men ‘managed to sweat a bit’ and he’s not too worried about being held to a draw by Namibia

Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki says his players delivered what he expected from them and he was satisfied with the 1-1 against Namibia on Thursday.

Luther Singh fired the hosts ahead after 18 minutes before Absalom Iimbondi hit back for Namibia 10 minutes into the second half in what was Bafana’s first match since November 2019.

With Thursday’s match a preparatory game for next month’s back-to-back 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers against Sao Tome e Principe, Ntseki was not concerned about the result as he just wanted his charges to get some game time.

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“I think we’re happy that we managed to sweat a bit,” Ntseki told SABC Sport .

“It has been long without playing any game and I think they’ve shown what we wanted to see, considering that they have not been playing for a very long time.

“But I think the shape has given us 70/80 per cent in terms of the physical readiness. So we’re looking forward. We’re somehow happy because some of them were cramping and I had to take them out in the first half.

“But I think they soldiered on. Unfortunately, we gave away a goal which we could have done better but at an international level, some of them played for the first time in the national team, I think it was a very good lesson for them.”

Ntseki’s squad was a mixture of experience and youth as he threw into the fray some of the national Under-23 players such Singh, Lyle Foster, Teboho Mokoena and also handed a national team debut to Portugal-based defender Thibang Phete.

Captain Thulani Hlatshwayo as well as other seasoned players such as Percy Tau, Andile Jali and Lebogang Mokoena, however, did not feature.

“These [experience and inexperience] are two different things and you can’t buy experience and that is why we brought in a few of the young ones just to give them the feeling of how it’s like to play in the national team,” said Ntseki.

“You can’t substitute experience with anything except for people who would be saying ‘a player is too old to be in the national team’ or ‘a player is too old to play football’, you can’t substitute experience with anything.”

South Africa now shift focus to Sunday’s game against Zambia at the same venue as they wrap up their warm-up for the November’s assignments against Sao Tome.



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