Ntseki wants Bafana to take the game to Sao Tome in PE qualifier

Coach Molefi Ntseki chats to the players at the drinks break during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier match between South Africa and Sao Tome and Principe at Moses Mabhida Stadium on November 13, 2020 in Durban, South Africa.
Coach Molefi Ntseki chats to the players at the drinks break during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier match between South Africa and Sao Tome and Principe at Moses Mabhida Stadium on November 13, 2020 in Durban, South Africa.
Image: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

Bafana Bafana will be aware that Sao Tome and Principe will have nothing to lose in the second 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Monday‚ so the South Africans will need to dictate the game‚ coach Molefi Ntseki has said.

Ntseki said his gameplan will be similar to that of a far improved‚ front foot second-half performance in the first of the back-to-back matches at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Friday night‚ where Bafana scored both goals after the break in a 2-0 win.

Half the job of these two qualifiers is done for Bafana as wins in both matches will see them with one foot in the finals in Cameroon in January and February 2022.

“Giving respect to Sao Tome they have got nothing to lose – we have got everything to lose if we don’t get a positive result‚” Ntseki said after the win in Durban‚ where Bafana were more workmanlike than exceptional‚ but displayed flashes of quality in the second half.

“So it means it will be for us to take the game to them like we did tonight [in the second half]. So it’s not like maybe we are going to take the foot off the pedal and say‚ ‘It is their game’.

“It is our game‚ being in South Africa. Even if we were to play in Sao Tome it would be the same.

“Because in every game we are fully aware that we cannot just allow Ghana to run away with the group. We are also a force to be reckoned with.

“And we can only ever get respect if we do well against teams like Ghana‚ who are No.6 in Africa‚ and we are No.13.

“We want to be in the top 10‚ and to do that we have to play well and win games.

“Caf and Fifa rankings are very important. It’s been some time since we’ve been out of the top 10 in Africa and the top 50 in the world.

“So the likes of Percy [Tau] and his team-mates are fully aware that we have to work very hard to turn things around.”

Sao Tome ceded their home venue for the second match in the interests of limiting travel in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ntseki said he did not know yet how similar his starting line-up would be in Port Elizabeth on Monday (kickoff 3pm). A possible change could be for Bongani Zungu – rested after arriving late via a 22-hour trip from Scotland‚ and who came off the bench and headed in Bafana’s second in the 90th minute second – to get a start in central midfield.

“We’ll do our assessment of the game and look at them medical reports‚ and also at the approach that we will be deploying on Monday‚” Ntseki said.

“We need to do a proper analysis of the game and tomorrow [Saturday] will be more of a regeneration. So I think we’ll have a better idea who we will play by Sunday.”

Ghana’s 2-0 win at home to Sudan keeps them top of Group C with nine points‚ with Bafana second on six‚ Sudan third on three‚ and Sao Tome last on zero.

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