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‘I have failed’: South Africa coach Ntseki disappointed after AFCON elimination

SOUTH Africa head coach Molefi Ntseki has accepted responsibility for the team’s failure to qualify for the next year’s Africa Cup of Nations.

Bafana Bafana’s dream of reaching the tournament in Cameroon were dashed on Sunday following a 2-0 defeat to hosts Sudan.

Ghana finished on top of qualifying Group C with 13 points, while Sudan claimed the second ticket open to the group with 12 points.

South Africa finished the campaign with 10 points.

“I think as a head coach of Bafana Bafana, I came up with a turn-around strategy and I think everything started very well, because we managed to accumulate 10 points and needed only a point to qualify,” Ntseki told South Africa Football Association media.

“Yes, as a coach, as head of the selection committee, as head of the team, my disappointment is huge – it’s huge for my personal growth and my personal achievement as coach of Bafana Bafana.”

The 51-year-old Ntseki confessed that the buck stopped at his desk and blamed himself for failing his nation.

“The success of the team is my success, and the failure of the team firstly starts with me – to say, ‘I have failed as a coach’, because in football we need to own up,” he offered.

“When there is success, you become everybody’s favourite but when there is failure, you become and orphan and everybody looks at you and says, ‘You failed the team; you could not qualify.’

“But things like this do happen in football, and we own up… It’s a big disappointment for myself.”

South Africa were AFCON hosts and champions in 1996 (when Nigeria’s Super Eagles were stopped from participating by military Head of State Sani Abacha because of a feud with South African President Nelson Mandela), and were runners-up to Egypt two years later in Burkina Faso.

Bafana have been in steady decline since then however and it was no great surprise that they failed to qualify ahead of Sudan, who are returning to Africa’s biggest tournament for the first time since 2012.

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