Brazilians say Bafana Bafana are fast and dangerous

2009-06-24 00:00

KAIZER Chiefs’ under-17 team had the opportunity of their young careers playing Brazil’s second-string, including AC Milan prodigy Alexandre Pato, in a friendly game at Orlando Stadium in Soweto yesterday.

Despite conceding five goals, the Chiefs youngsters did not disgrace themselves and had some good touches and one long-range shot that was well off target in the half-hour game.

Leading Brazilian stars Maicon and captain Lucio, meanwhile, have described Bafana Bafana, their semi-final opponents in tomorrow night’s semi-final at Ellis Park, as having a fast game.

Inter Milan right-back Maicon said: “We know South Africa. We’ve seen their games on TV and they’re a very quick team. We need to be on our guard because they could give us a nasty surprise.”

Bayern Munich central defender Lucio agreed. “Yes, they’re very rapid and they’ll have the fans behind them too,” he said.

Brazil demolished Italy 3-0 at Loftus on Sunday night to finish top of Group B with three victories, having scored 10 goals with three against.

While it is the Selecao’s much-vaunted attack, including Kaka, Robinho and Luis Fabiano, that has been most talked about as a threat to Bafana, Brazil also gave a superb defensive performance against Italy.

“That’s two games we’ve gone now without conceding a goal and we’ve also been very effective up-front,” Maicon said. “That’s what makes this such a rewarding win for us. Scoring three goals against a top team and not conceding any is quite an achievement.”

Meanwhile Bafana’s in-form full-backs Tsepo Masilela and Siboniso Gaxa and striker Bernard Parker have rated highly in Fifa’s Castrol Index player ratings.

The index rates players on successful passes, challenges and goals scored or saved, what zones of the field these take part in, and how much they benefit or disadvantage their team.

Right-back Gaxa has rated fifth out of 87 players and Masilela sixth, while Parker is seventh. Midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi is 25th, defender Matthew Booth 26th and goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, who barely had a save to make in the 0-0 draw against Iraq and 2-0 win over New Zealand before having a stormer in the 2-0 defeat to Spain, is 29th.

Midfielders Teko Modise (31st), Steven Pienaar (36th) and Benson Mhlongo (37th) also feature strongly, though, strangely, Macbeth Sibaya is only 42nd. Worryingly captain Aaron Mokoena is second-last in 86th.


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