Kaizer Chiefs defender Erick Mathoho has been rewarded for his early season form with a return to the Bafana Bafana fold, after caretaker coach Molefi Ntseki named his 23-man squad for a friendly against Zambia on September 7 in Lusaka.
Ntseki was the assistant coach to Stuart Baxter at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations but has v left his own mark on a squad that also includes the likes of Mamelodi Sundowns’ Thapelo Morena, Guingamp midfielder Lebo Phiri, and Cape Town City duo Thato Mokeke and Kermit Erasmus.
Mathoho last played for Bafana in a 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifying defeat to the Cape Verde Islands in September 2017, as he suffered a loss of form as well as injury problems at Chiefs. The Amakhosi centre back, however, now 29, has scored twice in two league appearances for Chiefs so far this season, and has been their best player as Ernst Middendorp’s side have opener with successive victories in the Absa Premiership.
Ntseki has worked with Morena, meanwhile, since the Under-17s, with the Sundowns man in fine form this season in a more attacking role under Pitso Mosimane. Many were surprised, indeed, that Morena was not part of Baxter’s plans for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Erasmus, meanwhile, has also known Ntseki for a long time, and the Bafana interim coach explained that he has no real concerns over the City striker’s problems with the senior national team over the years.
“I have known Kermit since he was 16 and I worked with him at the Under-20 World Cup when he was 19. He is vocal and confident, and you should have a way of dealing with such players,” said Ntseki.
“The personality of each player is different, as a coach you treat them differently … I spoke to Kermit on Tuesday, and I did not say anything about the team, but we have a good relationship, we have known each other for some time.”
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