Modise says team ‘back to normal’, but body language says otherwise

2010-06-21 00:00

WHILE midfielder Teko Modise proclaimed that “everybody is now back to his normal self” following Bafana Bafana’s devastating 3-0 defeat to Uruguay on Wednesday, the body language in a press conference spoke otherwise.

Modise and left-back Masilela faced questions from the media at Sturrock Park in Johannesburg on Saturday, and the players’ dejected demeanour hinted at a side shattered.

If there is a consolation for the South Africans, it is that France are in an even worse way than Bafana.

After yesterday’s training ground bust-up between defender Patrice Evra and fitness coach Robert Duverne, which resulted in the session being cancelled, France are officially the team in the most disarray in the competition.

While South Africa still have a chance of progressing to the second round, it’s a very slim, almost unrealistic one.

Bafana will hope either Mexico or Uruguay defeat the other by a heavy scoreline in their simultaneous fixture in Rustenburg, reducing the margin the South Africans would have to beat France by.

There is a chance, though, of Mexico and Uruguay playing to a draw, which would guarantee both sides’ progression.

Modise admitted that the South Africans’ main aim is to try to beat France for pride.

“Honestly, for us it’s about honour,” the midfielder said. “We really want to do well against France.

“We were talking about it yesterday — it’s one of those games that people will really, really remember us by. We want to do well.

“Went want to win the game and whatever happens, happens — and if it doesn’t happen at least we can hold our heads high.”

Modise, one of the leading scapegoats as the South African public searches for reasons for Uruguay’s convincing victory, and the manner in which the hosts froze on the evening, defended his form in the competition.

“Firstly I would say I think I played far better in our first game against Mexico. It’s a pity I never scored because I know if I had it would have been something different [for the team].

“Maybe it was because I didn’t score that people are saying I didn’t play well. Against Uruguay, nobody did well in our team. Uruguay were far better than us.

“Against France it’s the game that we need to win. Obviously as an individual I need to do better. I don’t go on to the field and intentionally elect to play badly. Maybe I’m disappointed because I haven’t scored goals.”

The Orlando Pirates midfielder said he does not necessarily agree with public and press opinion that Bafana need to change from a one-striker system. “The coach [Carlos Alberto Parreira] is very experienced and he knows what we have to do to win the game,” Modise said.

“We’ve been using one striker for eight months and we never lost a game. We have just lost one game and we don’t need to panic right now.”

Masilela, rated one of the top players at the 2009 Confederations Cup, has had a disappointing tournament by his standards. This could in part be due to an injury the defender picked up in training ahead of Bafana’s opening draw against Mexico.

“I haven’t played that well,” the Maccabi Haifa player admitted. “The first game we drew and the second we didn’t play well as a team and made too many mistakes. I think I can still improve in my performance.”

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