More positives than negatives, says Safa’s Raymond Hack

2008-02-04 00:00

SOUTH African Football Association chief executive Raymond Hack says overall the national ruling body is satisfied with Bafana Bafana’s performance in the African Nations Cup in Ghana, despite the national team’s first-round exit.

After a promising 1-1 draw against Angola, a costly 3-1 defeat against Tunisia effectively ended Bafana’s hopes in Group D. South Africa’s other area of weakness, goal-scoring, saw the team draw their final game against Senegal 1-1.

Hack said a big positive was that Bafana were one of the fittest teams at the Nations Cup, having been trained by specialised fitness coach Francesco Gonzalez.

“I think there were certainly more positives than negatives. The way the team played, the commitment and certainly the fitness of the players was something that we haven’t seen for a long time, and it bodes well for the future,” Hack said.

“From a negative point of view, yes, we didn’t go beyond the first round, but that’s because we didn’t score goals. Many people here in Ghana say South Africa played the most attractive football. [Former Zambian great] Kalusha Bwalya and [ex-Ghana great] Abedi Pele said on Ghanaian television that the most interesting play came from Bafana.

“Overall it was certainly a more beneficial Nations Cup to us than Egypt two years ago.”

Parreira and Safa have at times been at loggerheads about Bafana not playing enough friendlies against top-class opposition, which seems crucial for a team that can make costly defensive errors in pressure matches.

“Playing a higher level of opponent is something the coach has always asked for. Some of the errors we made were simple errors that should not have been made. But these things can happen,” Hack said.

Hack said there is cause for optimism that Bafana will qualify for Angola 2010 from a group that includes arch-nemesis Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea.

The CEO said it is not Safa’s job to question Parreira on his decision to tamper with his defence just before a major tournament, moving captain Aaron Mokoena to midfield. “Parreira has got carte blanche as to how he plays,” he said.

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