Gordinho game for test against Brazil
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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