Ntseki explains Mokeke positional switch

Ntseki explains Mokeke positional switch
Thato Mokeke of Cape Town City during the Absa Premiership 2019/20 match between Mamelodi Sundowns and Cape Town City at the Lucas Moripe Stadium, Atteridgeville on the 20 August 2019 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

by Nick Said

Saturday Aug 24, 2019. 13:00

South Africa interim coach Molefi Ntseki has confirmed he has selected Cape Town City player Thato Mokeke as a defender in his squad for the international friendly with Zambia on September 7.

Mokeke has featured almost exclusively as a midfielder in the last few seasons, though he did start out his career at left-back and can also play in the centre of defence.

Ntseki says he will use the versatile 29-year-old in his backline for the Chipolopolo game, hinting he will the left-back role with regular Sifiso Hlanti not available.

“I’ve had a chat with [Cape Town City coach] Benni [McCarthy]. We met at the game between Sundowns and Cape Town City,” Ntseki told reporters.

“I made it clear to him and explained to him why I have Thato Mokeke as a defender, but he has been doing well as a midfielder. Mokeke has been in the game for a very long time. He played at left back for Ajax.

“He went to SuperSport and played at left back also, and also at left centre-back. Now he’s doing very well for Cape Town City as a midfielder. He is a very gifted left-footed player.”

It is the opposite for Rivaldo Coetzee, who has won all of his 24 Bafana Bafana caps as a centre-back, but has now been selected as a midfielder having played there for Mamelodi Sundowns in recent times.

“Towards the end of the year, we profiled Rivaldo and wanted to bring him into Bafana Bafana as a defender,” Ntseki said.

“But in the past few matches, he has been doing well as a midfielder. I was also impressed with the way he played against Cape Town City on Tuesday.”

Ntseki has taken over temporary charge of the side after the resignation of Stuart Baxter and made nine changes to the squad from that which appeared at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.


Goalkeepers: Darren Keet (OH Leuven FC, Belgium), Ronwen Williams (SuperSport United), Brandon Petersen (Wits).

Defenders: Eric Mathoho (Kaizer Chiefs), Buhle Mkhwanazi, Thulani Hlatshwayo (both Wits), Thapelo Morena (Mamelodi Sundowns), Thamsanqa Mkhize, Thato Mokeke (both Cape Town City), Innocent Maela (Orlando Pirates).

Midfielders: Kamohelo Mokotjo (Brentford FC, England), Rivaldo Coetzee, Lebogang Maboe (both Sundowns), Dean Furman (SuperSport), Lebogang Phiri (Guingamp FC, France), Bongani Zungu (Amiens, France), Thembinkosi Lorch (Pirates), Thulani Serero (Vitesse Arnhem, Netherlands), Percy Tau (Club Brugge, Belgium), Keagan Dolly (Montpellier, France).

Forwards: Lebo Mothiba (Strasbourg, France), Bradley Grobler (SuperSport United), Kermit Erasmus (Cape Town City).

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