Parker the star turn in Bafana’s 1-0 victory over Poland

2009-06-09 00:00

AFTER a storming performance in the 1-0 warm-up victory against Poland at Orlando Stadium at the weekend that had everything in it but a goal, Bernard Parker says he is ready to carry the scoring responsibility for Bafana Bafana in the Confederations Cup.

Parker’s pace and turning ability had the big Polish defenders looking flatfooted and the striker is sure to come up against similar-styled defensive opponents in South Africa’s opener against Iraq at Ellis Park on Sunday, then New Zealand in Rustenburg next Wednesday.

“They’re big and they don’t like it when you play it on the ground with a lot of movement,” Parker said yesterday of the Poles. “And this is our strength, keeping the ball along the ground with quick movement and getting behind the opposition.”

Bafana displayed a passion and application on Saturday that could see the national team cause a surprise or two at the Confed, where being the hosts of the World Cup precursor might finally galvanise a talented but under-performing team.

“It’s magnificent,” said Parker of the opportunity that awaits the Bafana players. “The whole world is watching, it’s a Fifa tournament.

“And to play in it is a morale booster. We as the host nation have to make it a successful tournament by performing game by game.

“I think playing in front of a big home crowd can make a difference. In recent years there hasn’t been much support in the stadiums, and also from the media. When the crowds come in numbers it will lift us.”

The terrier-like striker will bear the brunt of the scoring responsibility in the absence of Benni McCarthy, and needless to say this not-too-minor detail has come to his attention.

“There are things going through my mind — that I have to work hard and that I have to perform above expectation.

“We have more than five attackers so I’m not the only one. But I’ll try and do my best and try and perform under that expectation.”

Parker made the move halfway through the last Premier Soccer League season from Thanda Royal Zulu to Red Star Belgrade, but the Serbian giants have gone bankrupt and released the player.

Another KwaZulu-Natal based player looking for a European club is multi-talented defensive midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi, who has had interest from several English Premiership clubs for a year, but not met the necessary quota of caps for a work permit.

Like Parker, Dikgacoi could seal a big move with a good Confed Cup performance.

“I’m hoping to have a good tournament,” Dikgacoi said after Bafana’s gym session at Johannesburg Stadium. “If I do well then maybe I can get the number of A-class games that is expected.

“I’ve always wanted to represent my country in such a tournament. This one will be important for me and some of the guys to open doors for us. It’s important for us to perform well.”

Steven Pienaar went for a scan of his sprained ankle yesterday and the results are expected today.

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