‘We mustn’t be fooled’

2009-11-17 00:00

BAFANA Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira will not be taking Jamaica lightly in tomorrow night’s friendly international at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, but would like to get a win to build confidence in the team.

South African players’ lack of belief in themselves was evident in the team’s 0-0 draw against Japan at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday, Parreira’s first match in charge since returning to Bafana.

Japan shaded play and their quick, uncomplicated passing had the better of a South African side that took too long on the ball and lacked penetration. Bafana often passed backwards to safety instead of probing forwards.

Parreira said that while Jamaica on paper are an easier prospect, these are the sort of games to be wary of.

“The last time Brazil played Jamaica in England it was 1-0 to Brazil,” the coach said in the post-match press conference in Port Elizabeth. “In football it is so difficult to say who is strong and who is weak.

“Half of Jamaica’s team play in Europe. We can’t look at the level of the opponents — we have to play our game. I’m not considering whether Jamaica are weak or stronger than the Japanese team.

“We are considering making one or two changes but not many. During the game we will make at least four more changes to have a look at new faces. But the shape will be more or less the same.

“If you look in the rankings and the teams’ record in the World Cup, the Jamaicans are not at the same level as Japan. But these are the kind of games that can fool us if you go to the ground thinking that you will win. We do need a win to bring the confidence back.”

Benni McCarthy made his return to the Bafana team and is clearly out of shape, struggling to fit into the tight- fitting new South Africa jersey.

Parreira said he believes it might be a good option for McCarthy to move from Blackburn Rovers, where he has struggled to get game time, to a smaller European club where he will play regularly.

“I cannot speak on his behalf but I heard him saying something about deciding on a new direction in his career in the January transfer window, maybe to go to a club where he can play.

“I don’t think a player like him will like always to be on the bench, coming to the national team out of shape because he’s not been playing for his club. So if he wants my advice, I think he should look for a club where he could play.”

The coach was asked when he might give a debut to SA U20 striker Kermit Erasmus, who has been called up to the senior squad but did not get a run against Japan.

“He’s the youngest player in the squad,” Parreira said. “We’ve got him because we’ve found that he has qualities to offer.

“We know the World Cup is just around the corner. We will see in the time that we have in preparation if he can join the team either in [the tours of] Brazil or Germany.

“We are going to have places for four forwards [at the World Cup] and the seats are open — it’s not yet decided.”

Changes Parreira might consider for tomorrow night’s game could be to introduce Lance Davids for Anele Ngcongca at right-back. Teko Modise has been in poor form and Elrio van Heerden could be considered at right wing.

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