Bafana's perfect game plan

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bafana Bafana need a perfect game plan to turn up the pressure to get the best of their opponents, with set-pieces and counter-attacks during the upcoming World Cup, but how will they fare tonight against the team ranked 109 in the world in a friendly match to mark 100 days ahead of the soccer world cup. Nthambeleni Gabara takes a look.

South Africa's head coach, Carlos Alberto Parreira, has only three months to turn an ordinary Bafana Bafana squad into a formidable and strong team.

The Brazilian born coach has selected a 22-man squad with only three experienced European based defenders: Bradley Carnell, Bryce Moon and Bevan Fransman.

With this squad, Parreira will hopefully test the team's strength and agility on the field and the squad will hopefully score a good few goals against the Brave Warriors of Namibia.

Parreira has said there is a lot of work to be done ahead of the spectacular show piece, but with the match against Namibia only hours away, the team can learn a few new tricks that will give their confidence a boost.

"Players need to understand that they are part of the elite teams since they are a world cup team, so we expect them to have confidence and they should believe in themselves. We want them to make us proud tonight.

"My message is clear to our players that they need to believe in their strength. I am personally not worried about their physical shape because their technical quality is perfect on the pitch. I want them to enjoy the game, but they must deliver," Parreira said in a radio interview on Tuesday.

In preparation for the month-long World Cup tourney, Parreira and the squad will travel to their training camps in Brazil and Germany soon and he hopes this will give players an opportunity to be physically fit and understand each other. He will also use this as a chance to closely asses his player's capabilities.

"These camps will be very important as we will be building up the style that will be used during the tournament. I will also train the players in ball possession skills; train them to be more aggressive on the ball as well as in marking. They will also be trained on their speed and pace," he said.

Parreira is also keen to include young blood in his final World Cup squad. He told BuaNews that his World Cup squad will be a balanced combination of both young and experienced players.

"I strongly believe that the World Cup team must be made up of experienced players, but a right step will be to mix the team with young talented players because it would not be easy to stand before 90 000 people from around the world on June 11 watching you.

"You must have good control on your nerves and the only way to do that is to make the right and balanced combination team comprised of young and experienced players," he said.

Parreira said 19-year-old striker Kermit Erasmus who plays for Holland's first division team, Excelsior Rotterdam, will form part of his squad.

"This is a young player with no international experience, but he has potential and he deserves a space in the national team; even if we cannot use him at the World Cup finals," he said.

Erasmus has been compared to England striker, Wayne Rooney and Brazilian legend Romario and has already represented the Under-17s and Under-20 squads, scoring plenty of goals against his opponents.

As pre-tournament warm matches are crucial ahead of a major tournament, Parreira said he had already organised friendly matches for Bafana with some of the Brazilian teams.

Asked if he had tried to organise a friendly match against his native Brazilian team, he said: "I spoke to Dunga (Brazilian coach) but he indicated that he doesn't want to play against us."

His side will take on Denmark six days before their clash with Mexico at home. Parreira said other teams are yet to confirm their availability to play against the host nation.

Bafana will move on to their training camp at the Southern Sun Grayston hotel in Sandton. They will train at Sandown High School, north of Johannesburg.

Drawn against Mexico, France and Uruguay, Bafana Bafana is expected to avoid breaking the record of becoming the first world cup host nation to be knocked out during the first round.

No host nation has ever been knocked out in the first round of the tournament. When the World Cup went to Asia for the first time in 2002, South Korea got to the semi-finals.

With only 100 days to go before South Africa hosts the rest of Africa and the world, South Africans are waiting with baited breath to see what their team does at the opening match of the tournament at Soccer City on June 11.

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