Parreira hits out at Safa

2010-04-09 09:18

Always the canny diplomat, Bafana Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira yesterday

adorned a pair of kid gloves and politely, but firmly rebuked his South African

Football Association (Safa) bosses for not compiling a tougher, more thorough

programme of matches leading up to the World Cup.

The Brazilian-born coach made his comments at a press briefing at

which he announced the 25-man squad for the second phase in Germany of his

three-phase 2010 FIFA World Cup preparation programme and was replying as to how

he felt about Bafana’s still uncertain build-up programme in comparison to that

of Mexico, South Africa’s opponents in the vital opening game.

The Mexicans are due to play tough friendly internationals in late

May and early June against England, The Netherlands and current FIFA World Cup

holders Italy, while Bafana will hone in on soccer’s pinnacle event with a game

against Denmark - hopefully because the contract has still to be signed - and a

couple of other still-to-be-determined opponents who include 22 year-old maestro

Lionel Messi’s Argentina in a proposed match-up that is now beginning to look

like no more than pie in the sky.

During the German stint, Safa had planned to lure a couple of world

soccer powers to test Bafana, but all they have come up with thus far is a game

against China - who do not rate anywhere close to South Africa’s first-round

World Cup opponents, Mexico, Uruguay and France.

Too late

“When I first came to terms with taking on the job of Bafana coach

as far back as 2007,” said Parreira, “I intimated the importance of an

increasingly tough programme of build-up games so that the South African players

would be well-prepared to face the tough opponents that await them at the World


“For a while,” he added, “there was some follow-up and games

against Portugal, Italy and Scotland provided the players with the kind of

experience they needed.

Unfortunately this has not been followed up to what should have

been its conclusion right up until the eve of the World Cup - although I am

hopeful something can still materialise at this late stage.”

Parreira said he had personally intervened after rejoining Bafana

for his interrupted tenure as Bafana coach and attempted to arrange games

against Brazil and other world powers - “but in every instance,” said the Bafana

coach, “the reply was sorry, it’s too late. Our programme has already been


Evasive tactics

And in keeping with Parreira’s astute penchant for answering tricky

questions impressively, but with answers unrelated to the information that was

initially sought, the Bafana coach chose to dwell on other subjects when asked

how he felt about the dismal form and fitness of Benni McCarthy.

More revealing was Parreira’s recall of 70-times capped Siyabonga

Nomvete from the international wilderness, justified, it would seem, after his

impressive sequence of performances for Moroka Swallows.

Less logical, however, was the return to the squad that spent

almost a month in Brazil of Katlego Mashego, considering the Orlando Pirates

player has been palpably out-of-touch for some time.

Also at the media briefing, Safa CEO Leslie Sedibe confirmed that

players named for the revised Bafana training squad would not be made available

to their teams for Saturday’s Telkom Cup Final between Kaizer Chiefs and Ajax

Cape Town in Durban.

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