South Africa fired coach Molefi Ntseki on Wednesday, three days after losing to Sudan and failing to qualify for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. The decision was announced at a press conference in the Council by South African Football Association Executive Director Teboho Motlante. The squad finished third in Group C behind Ghana and Sudan to continue their poor performance in the tournament. Since 2008, "Bafana Bafana" (translated as "boys") have played in six qualifying tournaments for the African Cup of Nations and have reached the Finals of the competition only twice. Ntseki was controversially appointed to replace England-born Stuart Baxter, who retired in 2019 shortly after bringing South Africa to the quarter-finals in Egypt.
The 51-year-old specialist was an assistant to Baxter, then took over the team without any experience as a coach of a men's team. Former striker Benny McCarthy, who leads South Africa's AmaZulu, could succeed Ntseki. McCarthy, whose 32 goals for South Africa are a national record, took the lead at AmaZulu when the team was close to the relegation zone earlier this season, and climbed them to fifth place under his leadership.
Clive Barker, the coach of the team that triumphed in the African Cup of Nations in 1996, praised McCarthy, calling him a "breath of fresh air." "Benny knows the game at the highest level and has played and scored at the highest level. Now he shows what he is capable of as a manager. He is a coach who should give a boost to the team. He really manages at a level and has good communication with the players. " Unemployed Eric Tinkler, a midfielder for the 1996 Champions League, could also be an option for the post, which must be filled urgently before the start of the World Cup qualifiers in Africa, which start on 31 May.
South Africa is in the same group as Ghana, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia, with only the first in the group qualifying for the final round. Ghana won and drew with Bafana in the African Cup of Nations qualifiers, and could call in Premier League players Thomas Parthey and Andre Ayu - making them favorites to win the group.
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