Safa boss denies Ntseki is cheap option to coach Bafana

Molefi Ntseki of Bafana Bafana and Russel Paul, acting CEO of SAFA, during the South African national soccer team press conference at Crowne Plaza Hotel on September 2 2019 in Johannesburg. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/ SYDNEY SESHIBEDI
Molefi Ntseki of Bafana Bafana and Russel Paul, acting CEO of SAFA, during the South African national soccer team press conference at Crowne Plaza Hotel on September 2 2019 in Johannesburg. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/ SYDNEY SESHIBEDI

Molefi Ntseki’s appointment as Bafana Bafana coach has nothing to do with picking a “cheap option”‚ SA Football Association (Safa) acting CEO Russell Paul has said.

Ntseki‚ a background man for the national team who has had a low-key coaching career from 21 years‚ was the surprising appointment as replacement to Stuart Baxter at Safa’s national executive committee (NEC) meeting on Saturday.

It is surprising because he is possibly the lowest-profile Bafana coach yet appointed‚ which would have seemed to make him a rank outsider next to other potential candidates such as Gavin Hunt‚ Benni McCarthy and Steve Komphela.

The uncharacteristic speed with which Safa moved on the appointment was also surprising. At most a shortlist had been expected from the NEC meeting at Safa House.

Instead‚ Safa’s technical committee put forward one name‚ Ntseki’s‚ as a recommendation and the NEC were convinced enough to endorse it.

Paul then made a phone call to Ntseki‚ who already had publicly proclaimed his availability‚ and the technical coach accepted the position.

There has been a lot of public scepticism about such a low-profile appointment.

However, Paul said Ntseki was not a “cheap option” for the cash-strapped association‚ as had been speculated.

“It’s not dealing with a cheap option‚ it’s dealing with the right person. And the right person could be expensive and he could be cheap‚” Paul said.

“It’s not about money. You could argue that money does play an important role. But in this case we were dealing with what was good for the association‚ what was good for the players and what was good for the image.”

Paul said Ntseki can build his profile as Bafana coach.

“I think it’s our [Safa’s] responsibility to build that profile. Because dealing with his profile‚ he has been involved with the national team for quite a while‚ so he’s not unknown to that area.”

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