Bafana Bafana head coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, said there was light at the end of the tunnel but admitted he was frustrated after he had produced two goalless draws in his first two matches in charge.
Last weekend Bafana drew 0-0 in a friendly against Japan, ranked 40th in the world, in Port Elizabeth and on Tuesday night were held to the same score by a defensive second-string Jamaica at the Free State Stadium.
”We are building for the World Cup next June and are on track despite playing against a defensive side like Jamaica who did not come here to win, but to frustrate and stop us playing,” Parreira said after the match.
”Jamaica came here for a draw and resorted to time wasting tactics in the second half by changing six players. In fact this game was only one half.
”There was maybe 10 minutes of football in the second half. It was stop start with Jamaica wasting time throughout and as a result it was a waste of time.
”It was frustrating and disappointing for me. Japan were different. They came to try and win, but after two matches in three days I am satisfied with the progress, but there is a long way to go.”
He slated Jamaica for at times having nine and 10 players behind the ball. ”Our goalkeeper, Rowen Fernandez, was a virtual spectator and did not have much work to do, especially in the second half.
”Jamaica played with three central defenders and packed the midfield and succeeded in frustrating us. This was not the sort of match I wanted, it did not help us.”
However, Parreira’s side once again failed badly in front of goals where Benni McCarthy and Katlego Mphela both had off nights.
But the Reggae Boyz coach, Theodore Whitmore, denied coming to Bloemfontein for a draw. ”I thought we had scored a good goal when your captain [Aaron Mokoena] kicked away Dane Richard’s shot [in the 23rd minute] off the goalline.
”I thought the ball had crossed the line. We came to win and but we go home upbeat with a draw.”
He also wished Bafana success in the World Cup next June and said the Bafana squad still had plenty of time to get ready.
Parreira stressed Bafana will have to start playing to their strengths. He said the fact Bafana had not scored in over six hours on the pitch was worrying, but he believed in McCarthy, Mphela, Richard Henyekane and Bernard Parker, he would find the right attacking combination before next June.
Bafana last scored in the 1-0 win over Madagascar in September.
Said Parreira: ”The problem with Benni is he is not getting enough game time at his club [Blackburn Rovers] and is not fit.
”But I have confidence Benni and Mphela will develop into a good partnership.”
Parreira also stated he would keep teenage striker Kermit Erasmus in his squad, despite not fielding the SA under-20 star against either Japan or Jamaica.
”Erasmus will get his chance next March when he starts playing friendly games and go to Brazil for a month camp.”
But the Bafana coach stressed it was not just the strikers who must start finding the back of the net. ”Our midfielders such as Teko Modise and Siphiwe Tshabalala, who are not at their best at present, need to start scoring and creating chances.
”Also we need to work more with our overlapping full backs to get more crosses in and therefore more chances to score.”
Parreira said he would work on improving Bafana’s tactical ability and work with the squad’s main strength, and that is keeping the ball on the ground.
But as a spectacle for the some 20Â 000 fans who braved a freezing night in the Free State capital, Bafana’s performance was a huge disappointment and showed Parreira will have a busy seven months ahead of him. — Sapa