Molefi Ntseki began his Bafana Bafana reign in the 2019 Nelson Mandela Challenge against Mali at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Sunday afternoon and he claimed a 2-1 victory as his first-ever official match as the official coach.
Molefi Ntseki says while it was a team effort, it felt special winning his first match in charge of Bafana Bafana.
South Africa defeated a stubborn Mali 2-1 in front of a decent crowd at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in the Nelson Mandela Challenge.
Ntseki is the former head coach of the South African U-17 Men’s National Team, former assistant coach of the South African U-20 Men’s National Team as well as former assistant coach of Bafana Bafana.
He also had a stint where he helped at Banyana Banyana
Dean Furman (penalty) and Themba Zwane got the goals for Bafana, while Sekou Koita scored for the Eagles.
The visitors were looking the more composed of the two sides on the ball and were stringing some nice moves together in the opening exchanges.
In the ninth minute, Sekou Koita forced Bafana goalkeeper Ronwen Williams into a brilliant save diving to his left. The resulting corner found its way to an unmarked Adama Traore at the back post, who could only side-foot his effort straight at Williams.
Soon after, Bradley Grobler’s scuffed snapshot dribbled wide of the right-hand upright after the SuperSport United striker engineered space for himself in the box.
In the 23rd minute, Bafana won a penalty when Thulani Serero was tripped in the box by Amadou Haidara. Furman stepped up and slotted the ball into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
In the 34th minute, Hadi Sacko was played in behind Thapelo Morena but could only shoot directly at Williams from the angle on the left.
Keegan Dolly was forced off with an injury and replaced by Zwane, who made an instant impact when he doubled Bafana’s lead on the stroke of half-time. It was a beautiful, flowing team move as Thembinkosi Lorch played in Zwane in the box, who finished coolly into the bottom right-hand corner.
Darren Keet took the place of Williams in the Bafana goal after the break and was called into action in the 55th minute when he saved from Sacko.
Soon after, the hosts came close to a third. Zwane played a one-two with Morena down the right-hand flank and got to the byline before crossing in the box but Grobler just could not keep his header down.
Mali looked threatening shortly after the hour-mark as they moved the ball around swiftly with near interplay but when the ball was worked to the edge of the box to Haidara, the Red Bull Leipzig midfielder could only curl his effort wide of the right-hand upright.
The Eagles pulled a goal back in the 75th minute when Koita rifled a low shot past Keet after playing a lovely one-two off Haidara, having received the initial pass from Mohamed Camara.
Kermit Erasmus, on as a second-half substitute, forced Mali goalkeeper Djigui Diarra into a smart save diving to his left with a curling effort in the 88th minute which meant that Bafana could not add to their two goals but still won the game.
By: Bradley Brizzy