He added to the excitement when he boldly announced that he would provide the “Champagne passes” which he felt were what had been missing to lift the team to their past glory.
But just over a year later, Ntshangase has changed tone and perhaps became a little humbler admitting that learning and adjusting is the best way to get into any team.
He has struggled to get regular game time under previous coaches Steve Komphela and Giovanni Solinas but has been in the starting line-up in the last three games under Ernst Middendorp, but in a position not familiar to him. He has been playing a more defensive role in the Amakhosi midfield.
“What important is adjusting to whatever position that is given to you, I am happy with where I am assigned,” he said.
“I have to get regular game time so the confidence comes back. No player is born for a particular position, if a coach sees you are better suited for a role elsewhere, you should be able to play there,” he added.
Asked if he will be displaying the same form that saw him become an instant hit with fans while at Black Leopards and Bafana Bafana in the past few years, Ntshsangase said: “I can’t promise that, but I know my responsibility. It is not about me alone but about us as a collective. When the time to be at that level comes, I will be there.”
His coach at Bafana, Shakes Mashaba recently said Ntshangase is not a player who needs too much instruction as he has a natural ability and instinct to attack and create goalscoring chances for teammates, something he did with ease in the past, the 25-year-old said coaches have different methods.
“Every coach has their own philosophy. If coach Mashaba said that about me, he felt I am that kind of player. But someone else might not feel the same way,” said Ntshangase who gave the shortest of answers during a media interview at Naturena on Thursday morning.
He was however not as critical as Daniel Cardoso recently was of former mentor Giovanni Solinas’ six months as Amakhosi mentor. Cardoso stopped short of calling the six months a waste.
“I can’t say it was a waste because we won some games and everyone was happy. But a time came whereby we as a team or the management felt we needed to be at another level. But I won’t say it was a waste. Whatever we did under him, some of us learnt from that.”