Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki to bring Percy Tau and other stars in against Zambia

South Africa coach Molefi Ntseki speaks to the players during the International Friendly match between South Africa and Namibia at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on October 08, 2020 in Rustenburg, South Africa.Bafana Bafana returns to the field for the first time this year hosting neighbours Namibia post Covid 19 sport regulations in South Africa.
South Africa coach Molefi Ntseki speaks to the players during the International Friendly match between South Africa and Namibia at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on October 08, 2020 in Rustenburg, South Africa.Bafana Bafana returns to the field for the first time this year hosting neighbours Namibia post Covid 19 sport regulations in South Africa.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki will ring the changes and bring on the more experienced players when the national team meet Zambia at Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace on Sunday‚ two days after drawing 1-1 in their first friendly against Namibia at the same venue.

Percy Tau was the player named by Ntseki to come in against Chipolopolo‚ but Thulani Hlatshwayo‚ Themba Zwane‚ Darren Keet and Andile Jali also seem likely to start.

“Percy Tau was rested and rest of the guys who were rested for today’s match will they’ll feature on Sunday‚” Ntseki said after Thursday night’s game in which Bafana faded and lacked cohesion going forward labouring to a draw against their neighbours.

Bafana had taken a 1-0 lead via Luther Singh in the 19th goal but as the game progressed they could not continue to press home an advantage and get more goals‚ nor defend their slender lead.

The Brave Warriors got their equaliser 10 minutes after the restart with Absalom Limbondi benefiting after Bafana’s central defenders Mosa Lebusa and debutant Thibang Phete were caught square‚ allowing the Namibian to squeeze the ball between the legs of Bafana keeper Ronwen Williams.

In the absence of regular skipper Hlatshwayo‚ Bafana looked shaky at times at the back and his presence against a more dangerous Zambians‚ who are coached by former Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic‚ could be key in bringing the much-needed leadership and stability.

The two friendlies mark Bafana’s return to football after 11 months inactive due to the Covid-19 pandemic‚ and serve as preparation for next month’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Sao Tome and Principe.

Commenting on the goal that Bafana conceded Ntseki acknowledged that his charges were getting tired‚ lost concentration‚ and became more anxious and frustrated by the ever-running Namibians as the game went on.

“Like I said when I talked about the energy levels‚ they [Lebusa and Phete] did very well in the first half‚” said Ntseki‚ whose record on the Bafana bench after the Namibia game is two wins‚ one loss and one draw.

“There was no threat in the first half. I think it was one ball that was played behind the defence and I think [Peter] Shalulile tried to put it in at the far post and it went out.

“That was the only opportunity they had in the first half. But when you look at the second half they were playing more of the long balls and we dealt very well in the first half with the long balls.

“But when you start getting tired the concentration levels go down‚ and when you look at the goal we conceded‚ it’s just a question of concentration levels having gone down.

“But if you at how Phete and Lebusa played in the first half‚ I think they did well with complement that they got from Innocent Maela and Abbubaker Mobara.”

Ntseki added that the fact that most of the local players also came to this match having been on a break after a long season‚ contributed to them not being 100% fit‚ and having only two training session to prepare before the match didn’t help that much.

“If you look at the early stages of the game we did well. But towards the end of first half you could see some players starting to cramp.

“At half time we were made aware that we needed to replace some of the players with immediate effect and we could understand because of the level of fitness‚ especially for our local players.

“But if you look at the whole game‚ I think there were moments that we did very well in terms of our tactical plan‚ out of possession and in possession‚ but unfortunately we’re not happy with the result.

“We wanted to win this one and get confidence going forward. But you don’t win the game by not scoring goals‚ you win the game by scoring goals and defending well and not conceding.”

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