PORT ELIZABETH – As he continues to wait for his debut as South African national team coach, Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki has secured a match against the Eagles of Mali.
This comes after the South African Football Association’s (SAFA) announcement that the team will host Mali in a clash set to honour the late president Nelson Mandela in Port Elizabeth.
Dubbed the Nelson Mandela Challenge, the match will be played in Port Elizabeth on Sunday, October 13.
The clash comes after a delayed coaching debut for Ntseki who was handed the coaching reigns on a permanent basis last month.
Although SAFA initially secured a friendly against Zambia, the Chipolopolo cancelled the clash owing to xenophobic attacks that recently engulfed a number of South African cities.
Following the cancellation by the Zambians, SAFA announced that the Bafana will face Madagascar, however, the Islanders also failed to pitch and the clash was cancelled in the last hour.
In addition, the clash against the West Africans is set to hand Ntseki his first opportunity in charge of the team ahead of the 2021 CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Ghana and Sudan in November.
Moreover, the former school teacher has also named his squad to face Mali, who reached the last 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt in July.
Bafana Bafana squad to play Mali in the Nelson Mandela Challenge match on 13 October 2019 at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
Kick Off 15h00 pic.twitter.com/Ruj0s84jeE
— Bafana Bafana (@BafanaBafana) September 25, 2019
“It will be crucial for us to start the journey of the AFCON qualifiers on a positive note,” Ntseki told the media on Wednesday.
“What I also want to see from the players is the mental attitude that there are no friendly matches in international football, we have to do the best we can to win every fixture because winning can become a habit – and on the other hand so can losing.
“Once we do well against Mali, it will stand us in good stead against Ghana and Sudan next month.”
Bafana Bafana squad:
Goalkeepers: Darren Keet (OH Leuven, Belgium), Brandon Peterson (Bidvest Wits), Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United)
Defenders: Thulani Hlatshwayo (Bidvest Wits), Mosa Lebusa (Mamelodi Sundowns), Innocent Maela (Orlando Pirates), Mulomowandau Mathoho (Kaizer Chiefs), Thamsanqa Mkhize (Cape Town City), Buhle Mkhwanazi (Bidvest Wits), Thapelo Morena (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Midfielders: Keagan Dolly (Montpellier, France), Dean Furman (SuperSport United), Thembinkosi Lorch (Orlando Pirates), Thato Mokeke (Cape Town City), Kamohelo Mokotjo (Brentford, England), Lebogang Phiri (En Avant Guingamp, France), Thulani Serero (Al Jazira, United Arab Emirates), Percy Tau (Club Bruges, Belgium), Bongani Zungu (Amiens, France), Themba Zwane (Mamelodi Sundowns)
Strikers: Kermit Erasmus (Cape Town City), Bradley Grobler (SuperSport United), Lebo Mothiba (Racing Strasbourg, France)