Sunday Mar 29, 2020. 16:00
South Africa national team coach Molefi Ntseki has explained why he did not select midfielder Bongani Zungu for the scheduled matches against Sao Tome e Principe.
The France-based midfielder was not named in the squad for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers (which were later postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic) and Zungu expressed his surprise with a post on Twitter which was later deleted.
However, Ntseki has now explained that the decision to omit the player from his selection was to allow Zungu to focus on his relegation battle with Amiens in Ligue 1.
“What is important for me is to look after all the South African players and profile each one of them. We announced the squad after sitting for eight hours to come up with the 25 and 50 players we selected. If every player has to react like Bongani Zungu, we wouldn’t be giving a good picture of the relationships we have with our players and our clubs,” the Bafana Bafana coach is quoted by IOL.
The coach went on to explain that reacting in the way Zungu did to his omission is a trend he does not see from other contenders.
“There are other players who felt they deserved selection but were not called up. They are probably feeling the same way but didn’t react the same way. They showed respect for themselves, their country and the national team as a whole,” Ntseki continued.
He added: “Those who are selected ahead of you, they celebrate the selection and look forward to representing their country. If you are not selected, it is a disappointment but this has to be handled in a very professional and respectful manner. I’m not going to talk much about what happened with Bongani Zungu.
“All I’m saying is that if you are not selected there will be other channels that you can make use of in trying to air your disappointment. As for the rest of the guys who are disappointed, I respect them all. Their chance will come again and they will again be looked at.
“There’s no bad blood between me and any other player who is not selected for Bafana Bafana but who feel they deserve to be in the team.
“There’s no bad blood. Bongani has been selected for Bafana in our past three camps since I took over. I don’t want us to entertain the possibility of bad blood creeping in,” Ntseki concluded.