Kaizer Chiefs head of Technical and Youth Development, Molefi Ntseki, has been on a steep “learning curve” since assuming his crucial Amakhosi role in June.
He is vastly experienced, having worked in a number of positions at the South African Football Association – right up to the pinnacle of Bafana Bafana head coach – but acknowledges working at Chiefs is a different challenge altogether.
“It has been a learning curve, which has been very profitable for me. We are working in a big club in a big institution with so many role players, we need to know and understand how to work with them,” Ntseki said in an interview with www.kaizerchiefs.com.
After his appointment, Ntseki has been hard at work with all the structures of the club. While the 2021-22 season has just kicked off for the first team, the junior teams are now wrapping up their 2021 season, which had been extended due to delays as a result of Covid-19.
The club’s junior teams are in a good position in the current Gauteng Development League (GDL) season and he is hoping for some silverware before preparations begin for the next season and readying the next bunch of development players for first team action.
“We have done induction of the senior team players and staff and we will also do induction of the junior team players and staff in the new season. We have six games left of the remaining season and then we will return next year and start preparations. I think in the GDL everything will go well and hopefully, we will win the GDL,” says Ntseki.
While respectful of protecting the club’s culture and values, he is also mindful of his job of getting a new structure in place that would benefit the club.
“While you have the club values and culture, you have to hit the ground running and implement what the club is looking forward to achieving,” Ntseki adds.
He was all hands on deck and involved with the first team’s coaching staff in the all-important final two matches of the 2020/2021 season, which ensured progression to the MTN8.
While he hoped Chiefs could have gone on a longer run in the MTN8, he was not unhappy with their performance in the quarter-final against Mamelodi Sundowns, and was pleased with the tactical flexibility demonstrated by Chiefs.
“Playing Sundowns is always an ‘A’ match we were looking forward to reaching the semi-finals. Unfortunately, we lost on penalties. The team had a very good game, but we conceded two early goals. We made mistakes, which led to us conceding goals, but we did well to change our tactical approach and managed to take the game to penalties,” Ntseki reflects on the narrow knockout loss to Sundowns.
He also gave his assessment on Chiefs’ opening two league games, saying “the two league games against Galaxy and Baroka were very important for us. We were looking to do well in the first match and win and get the three points to give us confidence and a breather of some kind going into the second match against Baroka. The tactical strategy was to win the Galaxy game, which we unfortunately drew. But any point is important, you will need those points at the end of the season”.
Ntseki believes the performance in Chiefs’ second game against Baroka was a step in the right direction.
“Against Baroka we scored two good goals in the first half. We missed an avalanche of goals and chances, which were created from very good team play, and good team tactical understanding. In the second half we conceded the odd goal, but it was a good win,” says Ntseki.
The seasoned coach also has a vital role to play in contributing to the Chiefs production line churning out the best players in the country.
“In the academy we have had preparation meetings and we have to thank everyone at the club, who has had the players tested and we have complied. We started preparations this past week. The coaches did their microcycles and we played our first games against Highlands Park at home. Everyone was ready for the kickoff. In the remaining games we are looking to play well and win the league,” Ntseki says confidently of the club’s academy prospects.
Ntseki is very complimentary of the foundation he has inherited and which he is now tasked with building on.
“When it comes to the club philosophy and manual, I have gone through the KC youth development academy manual and understand it well. I need to commend the people who worked on the manual, as it contains information on what the club wants out of its development in terms of tactical, physical, psychological and social aspects of player development,” says Ntseki.
Now, for him and his many colleagues in the club’s technical and football department, it is the time to turn words into action.