- South Africa head coach Molefi Ntseki has challenged South African footballers to be more consistent and wants to see Bafana Bafana players in top European leagues like the Premier League, La Liga, and Bundesliga.
In the past, Bafana had the likes of Lucas Radebe, Shaun Bartlett, Benni McCarthy, Aaron Mokoena, Steven Pienaar, Nasif Morris, Tsepo Masilela and Quinton Fortune playing in top European leagues.
Now, Ntseki believes the national team will benefit from having players competing in such leagues when international football resumes, having been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic since March.
“If we can export more of our players to the European market, they will share the experience that they have acquired while playing abroad,” Ntseki said.
“When I watched the La Liga recently as they came back after the coronavirus (break), I saw a number of north African players playing for Spanish teams. It was also the same when I watched the English Premier League. I saw more West African players,” he continued.
Currently, the Bafana players trading their talents in the top five European leagues are Ligue 1 trio Keagan Dolly, Bongani Zungu, and Lebo Mothiba.
However, only the South Africa youth internationals duo Siphesihle Mdlalose, 21, and Khanya Leshabela, 20, have both signed their maiden professional contracts with Southampton and Leicester, respectively but they are yet to make their first-team debuts for the Premier League clubs.
“But when I look at players who are of South African origin, we don’t have any, and this is a very big concern for me,” the former South Africa under-17 head coach added. “We need players playing regularly in the Premier League, Bundesliga, and La Liga.”
According to Ntseki, the former Bloemfontein Celtic assistant coach, South African players need to be more consistent and committed as he looks to ensure that Bafana qualifies for the 2022 Fifa World Cup and 2022 Africa Cup of Nations finals.
“A big Bafana pool made up of consistent performers will make us strong. Again, if we can have more players exposed to the (European) continental club competitions, it will be very easy for them to adapt for Bafana at a national level,” he concluded.