August 31, 2019 / 2:01 PM / 3 months ago

Soccer-South Africa surprise with appointment of head coach Ntseki

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 31 (Reuters) - The South African Football Association have named little known Molefi Ntseki as their new head coach after his appointment was unanimously confirmed by the organisation’s national executive committee on Saturday.

Ntseki, 50, led South Africa to the Under-17 World Cup in Chile in 2015 and worked as assistant to former coach Stuart Baxter at the recent Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, but has never been a head coach in the country’s top-flight.

He believes his elevation to the head coach role is a natural progression in his career.

“If you are at school, you graduate from a lower level to the next and I think I have sufficiently served my apprenticeship for this demanding job and it is about time I graduate to the next level,” he told the SAFA website.

“I qualified for the FIFA World Cup with the Under-17s in Chile and several other achievements and I don’t believe taking this job would be tantamount to being thrown into the deep end. Without sounding arrogant, I think I am ready for this.”

Ntseki’s first task will be to lead the team in an international friendly against Zambia in Lusaka on Sept. 7.

South Africa have been grouped with Ghana, Sudan, and one of Mauritius or Sao Tome and Príncipe in the qualifiers for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, while the 2022 World Cup qualifiers get under way in March next year.

South Africa have been under-achievers at senior international level in the last few years having been crowned 1996 Cup of Nations champions, and appeared at the 1998, 2002 and 2010 World Cups, the latter as hosts. (Reporting By Nick Said Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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