Gordinho game for test against Brazil

Sunday World - - World Of Sport - MARC STRY­DOM

LORENZO Gordinho hopes to bring much-needed pace to the South Africa un­der-23 team s cen­tral de­fence in their first true test out­side of Africa against hosts Brazil today in prepa­ra­tion for the Rio Olympics in Au­gust.

The SA un­der-23s reached the Olympics via the un­der-23 Africa Cup of Na­tions (Af­con) in Novem­ber with an elec­tri­fy­ing at­tack. But their wooden, slow cen­tral de­fence was caught out too of­ten.

Gordinho, 21, has been drafted back hav­ing bro­ken into the Kaizer Chiefs line-up as a reg­u­lar this sea­son. The quick and neat cen­tre­back last saw ac­tion early in un­der23 coach Owen da Gama s team against Su­dan and Pales­tine last year. I have grown as a per­son and player since I was last in the squad. I ve ex­pe­ri­enced a lot these past six months,” Gordinho said.

Third place at the Af­con would sug­gest Da Gama s team have ground to make up to be com­pet­i­tive at the Olympics. A gauge of whether Gordinho s ad­di­tion has made any dif­fer­ence comes against Brazil, who lost 1-0 to U23 Af­con win­ners Nige­ria on Fri­day.

Gordinho comes from foot­balling stock, though in the form of a son of Chiefs bit­ter ri­vals. His fa­ther Manny Faria, was a tough Por­tuguese-born cen­tre-back who played for Or­lando Pi­rates in the 1980s. Play­ing also for Benoni United and Por­tu­gal s Gil Vi­cente, Faria scored an ex­cep­tional 112 goals in 375 games.

His record is in­cred­i­ble. I heard he was very strong, very com­pet­i­tive, said Gordinho, who was born in 1994 af­ter his fa­ther s ca­reer had ended.

Gordinho s brother, Anthony, younger by a year, is an Ajax Cape Town youth prod­uct wait­ing to make his break­through at Su­perS­port United.

Frus­trat­ingly for Bucs fans, Gordinho came through their club s youth sys­tem from age 11 to 15.

I thought I d grown as much as I could af­ter Pi­rates gave me a good foun­da­tion, he said. At Chiefs they took that foun­da­tion and built on it. Un­der coach Doc­tor [Khu­malo] I re­ally learnt a lot. Dif­fer­ent tech­niques of football and styles of play. At Pi­rates they had a set style.”

With the de­par­ture of 2014-15 PSL player of the sea­son Tefu Mashamaite, Gordinho has nudged ahead of Ivan Bukenya, Mor­gan Gould and Siyanda Xulu to part­ner Mu­lo­mowan­dau Mathoho in the de­fence of a Chiefs team un­able to re­gain last sea­son s league and cup dou­ble-win­ning form.

It s been tough fill­ing Masha s shoes. I m work­ing hard to change that partnership to Lorenzo and Tower [Mathoho], in­stead of Tower and Masha [Mashamaite].”

The lessons learnt will stand the young de­fender in good stead try­ing to earn a place along­side some tal­ented emerg­ing cen­tre-backs in the un­der-23s, in­clud­ing Bafana Bafana reg­u­lar Ri­valdo Coetzee.

We have a strong gen­er­a­tion of play­ers be­tween 20 and 23. And they re play­ing for their clubs in the league,” Gordinho said. I think it s im­por­tant we give a good ac­count of our­selves against Brazil. But the mo­ti­va­tion is there play­ing against Brazil is enough.”

Brazil meet the un­der-23s in the coastal city of Ma­ceio. Fol­low­ing their se­nior team s ex­tra­or­di­nary 7-1 2014 World Cup semi­fi­nal rout as hosts against Ger­many, the coun­try is des­per­ate for ta­lent to come through.

In­cluded in coach Rogerio Mi­cale s squad are prodi­gies such as Arse­nal-linked Gabriel Gabigol Bar­bosa, and Lazio s Manch­ester United tar­get Felipe An­der­son.

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