Parreira confident Bafana will reach last 16

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cape Town - Bafana Bafana Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira remains confident that his charges will reach the knockout stages of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, despite being placed along the best teams in the world.

The outspoken Brazilian told reporters on Saturday, a day after the tournament's Final Draw that South Africans must not be scared by France, Mexico, Uruguay, adding that it all lies on commitment and proper planning.

Bafana Bafana has been drawn in the Group A of the World Cup with France, which consists of world acclaimed players, South American giants Uruguay and Mexico - many South Africans are afraid that the national team might be eliminated in the first round of the tournament.

"We are placed with best in the world but that doesn't scare us. I don't believe in words but in action. Nobody can climb Mount Everest with words.

"We need commitment, planning and strategy to climb the mountain. We will make it only if we are mentally and physically prepared," said Parreira.

Several international and local journalists have been criticising the national team for its under-par performance displayed in recent games.

This has created an impression that it would be the first time for a host nation to be eliminated in the first round of the World Cup.

Meanwhile, the national team coach openly expressed that most of Bafana Bafana players were not mentally and physically fit which was the main reasons for the team's poor performance.

"Those who want to be in Bafana Bafana must be prepared mentally and physically. With the six weeks in Brazil and Germany we will be working hard on players' mental and physical fitness.

"With the mental preparations and the commitment of players we can make it. I'm committing myself and this draw has boosted my spirit, and I'm motivated now as before," the coach said.

Bafana Bafana will play their first game and also the opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup against Mexico in Soccer City, Johannesburg on 11 June - a game that will determine whether the national team will proceed to the next round.

However, Parreira maintained that there was no need to worry about Mexico, adding that he knows their game style. He said all he needed was for the players to rebuild the spirit they showed in the FIFA Confederations Cup in June.

"All our opponents in the group use a similar method of game, they like playing the ball on the ground. I know the Mexicans they run a lot, they are physical and play a very interesting game.

"But we don't have to worry about them but worry about ourselves. We have to go out there and fight like worriers," said Parreira, who won the World Cup in 1994 with Brazil.

Meanwhile, South African Football Association Vice-President, Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana said they were confident that Bafana Bafana will not disappoint their fans.

"Although we are placed with the best teams in the world we are confident that our national team will make it to the next round of the next year's tournament."

Bafana Bafana will play its second match against Uruguay in Pretoria's Loftus Versfeld Stadium on 16 June; perhaps the spirit of Soweto Uprising will play a part. The national team will play its last group match against France on 22 June 2010 in Mangaung/Bloemfontein.