BSP-06 South Africa make surprise choice as national coach

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South Africa make surprise choice as national coach

JOHANNESBURG, Sept 1, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – South Africa chose Molefi Ntseki, who never played professionally or coached a top-flight club, as national coach Saturday after Englishman Stuart Baxter resigned this month.

The surprise appointment was announced on Twitter by the national football association after an executive committee meeting in Johannesburg.

Ntseki, who assisted Baxter at the recent Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt where South Africa reached the quarter-finals, was named caretaker coach for a friendly international in Zambia next weekend.

But a top-flight domestic club coach was expected to be get the job on a permanent basis with Benni McCarthy (Cape Town City), Gavin Hunt (Bidvest Wits) and Steve Komphela (Golden Arrows) the favourites.

McCarthy and Komphela are former national team stars and Hunt has won the South African Premiership a record-equalling four times as a coach.

“I think I am ready to be national coach,” Ntseki said a day before his appointment. “I have served my apprenticeship for this demanding job and it is about time I graduated to the next level.”

Apart from assisting Baxter and two other former national team coaches, the former schoolteacher has been in charge of the under-17 side and the national women’s team.

His first competitive challenges come in November when South Africa visit Ghana and host Sudan in 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Baxter quit three years before his contract expired, saying he believed his work was not sufficiently appreciated by football officials, the public and the media.

BSS/AFP/AU/07:55 hrs