Bafana Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira will make two changes to his starting line-up for Tuesday night’s friendly international against Jamaica at the Free State Stadium
Speaking at a press briefing ahead of Bafana’s final friendly international of 2009, the Brazilian-born coach said Orlando Pirates defender Lucas Thwala would replace Tsepo Masilela at left-back while German-based goalkeeper Rowen Fernandez would come in for Pirates’ Moeneeb Josephs, who was named Man of the Match in the 0-0 draw against Japan at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth at the weekend.
”Masilela picked up an injury against Japan while I need to have a look at Fernandez. I will make other changes during the match as I did against Japan,” explained Parreira, who re-affirmed he was hoping to end the year on a winning note.
Parreira was cautious about predicting a win against the Reggae Boyz.
”Although we did not beat Japan, it was a positive result considering Japan have already qualified for the World Cup and are ranked 40th in the world. I was happy with the overall performance and the result.
”But Jamaica will be a different proposition. They play a different style in that they are not as quick but they still need to be respected and, again, I stress that we are not going to underestimate them.
”From now until the World Cup every game is important as we have to build up a winning mentality. I hope we get a win against Jamaica as our goal is to end the year on a high note.”
Parreira defended his fellow countryman Joel Santana, who was shown the door after 17 months in charge when Bafana were beaten 1-0 away by Iceland which was Bafana’s eighth defeat from their last nine games under Santana.
”I still regard Santana as a top coach. But he got off on the wrong foot in South Africa when he was called Mr Nobody. Also there was no chemistry between Santana and Bafana. People started expecting Bafana to lose every game. That is something that needs to end. That is why we need to rebuild a winning mentality,” said Parreira who recommended Santana for the job after he left South Africa last April citing his wife’s illness as the reason after a 14 month spell in charge.
Parreira said that while he was happy with the spirit against Japan, Bafana were still a long way from being ready to take on the world’s best sides at the World Cup.
”We need to show a lot of improvement. But the biggest problem is that most of our players who belong to European clubs do not play regularly for their clubs and that means they are not match fit.
”My first job is to make sure that come the World Cup every player is fully match fit. That is why I am having two camps next year to get our match conditioning up to speed.”
Bafana skipper Aaron Mokoena said he expected a tough battle against Jamaica but was quietly optimistic.
”The draw against a world class side like Japan has done wonders for our self belief and morale. But we need to continue from where we left off.
”The players are more positive now and we are determined to win this one for the fans in Bloemfontein.” — Sapa