Bafana Bafana coach Ntseki hails Phete, Lebusa partnership but decries PSL players’ lack of fitness

The national team coach continues to pick positives from the draw against the Brave Warriors, while hoping for improved fortunes against Zambia

South Africa Africa coach Molefi Ntseki was left a satisfied man by the central defence pairing of Thibang Phete and Mosa Lebusa which started Thursday’s international friendly 1-1 draw against Namibia.

As Bafana Bafana now prepare to face Zambia in another friendly match on Sunday, Ntseki welcomes back forward Percy Tau and others like captain Thulani Hlatshwayo, Andile Jali who who did feature on Thursday.

“Percy Tau was rested and rest of the guys who were rested for today’s match will they’ll feature on Sunday‚” said Ntseki as per Sowetan Live.

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“Like I said when I talked about the energy levels‚ they [Lebusa and Phete] did very well in the first half. There was no threat in the first half. I think it was one ball that was played behind the defence and I think [Peter] Shalulile tried to put it in at the far post and it went out.

“That was the only opportunity they had in the first half. But when you look at the second half they were playing more of the long balls and we dealt very well in the first half with the long balls.

“But when you start getting tired the concentration levels go down‚ and when you look at the goal we conceded‚ it’s just a question of concentration levels having gone down.

“But if you at how Phete and Lebusa played in the first half‚ I think they did well with complement that they got from Innocent Maela and Abbubaker Mobara.”

Portugal-based Phete impressed Ntseki on an evening he was making his Bafana debut after years of knocking on the national team door without luck.

It is yet to be seen who between Phete and Lebusa, the coach would prefer to partner Hlatshwayo on Sunday.

Ntseki is however concerned about the fitness levels of Premier Soccer League (PSL) players in his squad.

“At half time we were made aware that we needed to replace some of the players with immediate effect and we could understand because of the level of fitness‚ especially for our local players,” Ntseki said.

They are worries that he could go with into Sunday’s hosting of Zambia.

While picking up positives in the draw against Namibia, the coach was however not been too impressed with the result as he says he is keen for a win ahead of November’s 2021 back-to-back Africa of Nations qualifying matches against Sao Tome e Principe.

“But if you look at the whole game‚ I think there were moments that we did very well in terms of our tactical plan‚ out of possession and in possession‚ but unfortunately we’re not happy with the result,” said Ntseki.

“We wanted to win this one and get confidence going forward. But you don’t win the game by not scoring goals‚ you win the game by scoring goals and defending well and not conceding.”

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