Ntseki: Why I didn't fear losing

SA National Teams

Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki has commented on getting his reign off to a winning start but says at no point did he fear a defeat against Mali.

Bafana came out 2-1 victors over The Eagles in the Nelson Mandela Challenge encounter played in Port Elizabeth’s Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

It was Ntseki’s long-awaited first match in charge after he was appointed as Stuart Baxter’s replacement back in August, having been promoted from assistant coach.

“This one was a special one, when you play in a match against Mali to honour an icon like Nelson Mandela, and being a senior team coach,” said Ntseki after the match.

“In the past I’ve been an assistant to coach Shakes [Mashaba], coach Owen Da Gama and coach Stuart [Baxter], but it’s a very good feeling [now being head coach].

“But you know, a good feeling also comes with some butterflies, but I think those were good butterflies because they kept us floating and flying, so we ended up winning this match.”

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With many having doubted his appointed, the former Amajimbos mentor says at no point did he fear an opening-game defeat, due to one particular person on his technical team.

“This is an opportunity that comes once in your lifetime. We have coach Trott Moloto here and he was telling me about his first match, sitting on the bench and what it was like,” he added.

“So, it wasn’t much of a difficult feeling or maybe being worried more about losing the match and then maybe getting some negative comments from the public and everybody, because I have him and he’ll always be sharing his experiences with me.

“Fortunately for him, he also never lost his first match, and he was the first coach to win against Sweden in the Mandela Challenge, so I think we really need to thank him.

“Basically, it was a very good choice to bring someone like him to be working with me and the rest of the guys.”