December 6, 2021

Ntseki hails ‘special and courageous’ Bafana Bafana duo Erasmus and Jali

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The national team tactician has identified players he thinks could form the backbone of his team ahead of the 2021 Afcon qualifiers

South Africa coach Molefi Ntseki has described Mamelodi Sundowns attacker Kermit Erasmus as a “special player” in his squad while also pointing at midfielder Andile Jali as key in bringing in the qualities of “courage, confidence and leadership.”

Ntseki has resumed duty with his Bafana Bafana team preparing for Thursday’s international friendly match against Namibia as well as a clash against Zambia on Sunday.

Both matches will be played in Rustenburg at Royal Bafokeng Stadium.

After nearly a year of national team inactivity, Ntseki wants to reboot his squad ahead of next month’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) back-to-back qualifiers against Sao Tome e Principe.

The Bafana coach is relying on certain players as the spine of his team and picks new Downs signings Erasmus as one who can handle the pressure.

“Kermit Erasmus – a special player for me because of his ability to score goals. And he’s somebody in the national team who can score goals for us‚” said Ntseki as per Sowetan Live.

“And during the bubble he did very well‚ scoring goals for his team. We are hoping that with him coming into the national team he will definitely deliver by scoring goals for us. It’s a pressure that we are putting on him‚ but I know that he can carry that pressure.”

Erasmus is one of the senior players in Ntseki’s squad and has been with the national team for a decade now although his spell has been punctuated by episodes of being overlooked by previous coaches.

Jali is also a long-serving member of Bafana Bafana since 2010 and Ntseki is banking on the holding midfielder’s “intelligence and leadership qualities.”

“Andile Jali is one of the senior players who has been out of the team for some time,” Ntseki said.

“We need his intelligence‚ we need his courage‚ we need his confidence‚ we need his leadership going forward. So we felt let’s bring in Andile Jali in these friendlies and see how best we can get the best out of each other going forward.”

Bafana would be back in action for the first time since November 2019 when they edged Sudan 1-0 in a 2021 Afcon qualifier.

Since taking over from Stuart Baxter last year, Ntseki has been in charge of three matches, beating Mali in a friendly game and the Sudan result.

Under Ntseki, Bafana have lost one match, a 2-0 defeat away in Ghana in their Afcon qualifier, which leaves them second in Group C.