Parreira makes some weighty decisions

Bafana Bafana coach Carlos Parreira is a troubled man and is likely to spend much of his Christmas break pondering a solution to end the team’s goal drought. The return of Benni McCarthy has done little to exorcise the ghost bent on condemning the team to a first-round exit from next year’s World Cup finals.

The games against Japan and Jamaica may have stopped the miserable run under Joel Santana but Bafana remain winless. Parreira’s desperation for a goal could be detected right up to the end of the match against Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz when he threw in three strikers, Katlego Mphela, Bernard Parker and Richard Henyekane, to no avail. The two drawn matches under the Brazilian mean the team has scored just one goal — against minnows Madagascar — in more than 10 hours of football. With less than seven months before the country hosts the biggest sporting event in the world the 1994 World Cup winning coach is worried.

”The players need to go back to their clubs and work hard before we meet again. We now have to think of the future and try to improve,” he told the media after Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with Jamaica in Bloemfontein.

The problem is key players such as Fulham’s Kagisho Dikgacoi and the Blackburn pair of Elrio van Heerden and McCarthy are being restricted to cameo roles at their clubs. Without regular game time, not much improvement can be expected from the promising strike force combination of McCarthy and Mphela.

Parreira has even advised the portly McCarthy to leave the English club for a team that will afford him more time on the pitch in the hope he gains match fitness. The player, who declared himself the answer to Bafana’s scoring problems when he returned to the national team last week, is terribly out of shape.

McCarthy is not the only player suffering under the nation’s weight of expectation. Orlando Pirates’ talisman Teko Modise has been off form for too long, a reality the coaching department refuses to embrace. He was once again in the starting line-up and predictably failed to stamp his authority in midfield.

The gap left by the injured Steven Pienaar in Bafana’s engine room has made Parreira’s rebuilding exercise all the more difficult. None of the replacements roped in has put up his hand to say there is life after the Everton midfielder.

The only solace for the suffering fan is that it’s not all doom and gloom. The defence, particularly goalkeepers Moneeb Josephs and Rowen Fernandez, appear to have hit top form under Parreira.

Still, all the work at the back will amount to very little unless the team starts getting the goals that win matches.

Keep the powerful accountable

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