Parreira ready to rumble
Bafana coach returns to South Africa with guns blazing
CARLOS ALBERTO PARRERIA made a brash, bar nstor ming retur n to the Bafana Bafana hot-seat yesterday, promising to “fight tigers, lions and hippos” to qualify the team for the knockout stages of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
The 66-year-old Brazilian was in excellent form here, calling on all South Africans to “embrace the national team,” as public despondency grows of Bafana’s awful form of late.
“I came back and I saw a lot of talk about this and that about the national coach,” said Parreira.
“I did not expect a red carpet, I did not expect roses. But I can say we come ready to work, we come in good spirits. We are ready to fight tigers, lions, hippos, whatever is in the Big Five.
“We know everybody wants to see the national team in the next stage of the World Cup, and I believe we can do it.”
“… The target is to jump to the next round, and after that, the sky is the limit. Anything can happen in knockout football.”
Parreira’s first task in his second spell as Bafana coach will be to prepare the side for friendlies against Japan in Port Elizabeth on November 14 and Jamaica in Bloemfontein on November 17. He said it was crucial for Bafana to get good results in these games, to restore morale, which is at a desperate low after eight defeats in nine internationals.
“If our confidence at the moment is not high, it is because we have lost eight matches. So our work now is to build self esteem.
Confidence will be brought back by winning friendly games, so these games against Japan and Jamaica are very important.”
Having said that, Parreira also defended his predecessor and compatriot, Joel Santana, who was sacked last month after presiding over Bafana’s slump to 85th in the world rankings.
“Against who have we lost?” said Parreira.
“To Serbia, who put France into sec- ond place in their World Cup qualifying group. Against Germany, who have beaten Brazil many times. Against Brazil, Norway, Spain – big teams. And we didn’t shame ourselves, this is a learning process. This will be a bonus in the future.”
Parreira plans to instil a similar spirit that led Bafana to a decent Confederations Cup with a series of camps next year, including one for a month in Brazil in March.
“There is no better way to get the feeling of Brazilian football than to be playing there. I have found this successful with national teams that have reached the World Cup, with Kuwait, with Saudi Arabia, the UAE. It helped a lot for players to be there playing against Brazilian teams, not just one game, ten games, for a month. I am sure the improvement will be much better.”
Parreira is unlikely, however, to be able to get his overseas-based players for this camp.
“We know that it is one of the difficulties we will have because clubs are not obliged to release the players, it is not a Fifa date. We are going to communicate with the clubs and try to release them. We are aware that some of them may not come.”
Parreira also expressed his frustration at the lack of overseas-based players getting first team football at present.
“I was watching Real Madrid v Milan, and there were eight Brazilian players in the starting line-ups. I am very sad on Monday when I get reports from overseas and there is only one Bafana player who is starting. It would help us a lot if these players were playing in their teams. We have to encourage these players to play, and if they are not playing, to train, to do something so they will be ready for the national team.”
In the same spirit, Parreira sent out a message to striker Benni McCarthy, who has been recalled for the upcoming friendlies, to get in shape for the 2010 World Cup.
“...we are bringing Benni back now, to have a look and talk to him, to see how is his spirit, how is he willing to come back into the team as a player, alongside all the other players.
“ We are not going to allow any player to cause any problems for us. We trust him and that is why we are bringing him, because he is a good player, he may be the most experienced player we have, but he needs to be in shape. Every time he comes, because he is not playing there (at Blackburn) he is not in good shape, he cannot give his best performance, but if he is willing to play the World Cup in good spirits, we will have three months, and if he is willing to give us three months, I can assure you, we will get him fit. It is up to him, not us.”
THIS IS OUR PLAN: Carlos Alberto Parreira stresses a point at yesterday’s media briefing.