Par­reira ready to rum­ble

Bafana coach re­turns to South Africa with guns blaz­ing

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - MONTY MARK

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.

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