Bidvest Wits' Phumlani Ntshangase makes no bones about new positional challenge
Posted: 20 November 2017 Time: 19:30
Phumlani Ntshangase is grateful Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt has trusted him to slot in at right-back of late but admits the positional change comes with its challenges.
Ntshangase typically operates in midfield but Hunt has mixed things up after a poor start to the season, which included a seven-match winless run after the MTN8 quarter-final win over Golden Arrows in their first game of the campaign.
The Students are showing signs of life again with four victories from their last five matches, most recently beating Kaizer Chiefs 1-0 on Saturday to set up a Telkom Knockout final date with Bloemfontein Celtic in Durban on December 2.
Ntshangase, who was utilised at the back in a 3-5-2 formation at Bidvest Stadium, started the move for the decider against Amakhosi as his long searching ball in the box was headed back across the face of goal by returning defender Buhle Mkhwanazi and James Keene was on hand to head it past Itumeleng Khune.
Ntshangase, though, has had his tough moments at the back though, like when he conceded a penalty with a challenge on Jabulani Ncobeni during a 3-0 loss to AmaZulu on September 20.
"I don't want to lie, it's so challenging, especially mentally," Ntshangase tells KickOff.com.
"If you play one position all the time you get to understand things deeper than the other person who hasn't played in that position, doesn't understand or [is able to] read the situation.
"But with time you slowly, slowly get there and all of a sudden things change, but it is challenging. It is a good challenge to see the coach playing me in various positions and I'm happy for that... it makes me grow as a player.
"Number two, it shows the coach has full trust in me to say, 'Phumlani, here we are short and you can do this'. So for me it is good for my mental strength to be quick and adjust quickly."