/ 5 December 2009

Parreira has work cut out for him ahead of 2010

Bafana Bafana will have to cope with two massive problems ahead of the Soccer World Cup, and there’s little that coach Carlos Alberto Parreira can do.

The first is the non availability of South Africa’s
foreign-based players who will miss out on training camps in Brazil and Germany during the first three months of 2010.

It is highly unlikely that European clubs will release South African players who will make it into Parreira’s World Cup squad.

Fifa have stipulated a mandatory release of World Cup players on May 17, which means leading Bafana players will miss out on the vital training camps in Brazil and Germany.

Parreira will, however, have his full squad for training duty in May when the camp will be on home soil, but he fears players may not be match fit.

”You can say that is a handicap for us,” said Parreira, at a media conference on Saturday morning in Cape Town.

”I’ve looked at a team such as France and I’ve noticed they have about 15 players abroad, but they are regularly in action [at their clubs].

”Many of our players are not even playing and that is why we need to prepare a different squad because we can’t rely on players who arrive 15 days before the World Cup and then find they are not fit.

”I have told Safa we need to have the camps in Brazil and Germany as that will give us an opportunity to prepare one team, one group that will be mentally, technically and physically prepared and organised.”

The second problem Parreira faces is the lack of reliable strikers. He said it was a matter which should have been addressed at grassroots level, and not one that a World Cup coach can remedy.

”In order for a team to do well, there has to be good finishing and in that department we’re lacking power and strength,” he said.

”I’ve promised not to talk about this problem when I arrived in this country but I must tell you it’s not the work of a World Cup coach to produce strikers because it is something that should have been done at grassroots level.

”Good finishing is also a matter that should be dealt with by the clubs and no World Cup coach has made good strikers — they’ve always found them in the country.

”When we [coaches] come to this level, we should
not be faced by this problem.”

Parreira spoke at length about the benefits for the South African players who will attend the camps in Brazil and Germany.

There is a common thread in the playing styles of Bafana Bafana’s A Group opponents, Mexico, Uruguay and France — they all keep the ball on the ground rather than hoofing the ball upfield.

”In Brazil we’ll be playing many friendly games against teams, all of which will keep the ball on the ground,” said Parreira.

”That will give the players a chance to be exposed to that style of play because the Brazilian teams love the short passes, the one-two plays and quick passing game.

”In Germany the facilities are excellent and we’ll play friendlies there as well but we’ll be tested by different playing patterns from the opponents.

”I would love to have played the big teams such as Brazil, England, Germany, Italy and Argentina by the time we set up camp in South Africa, but Fifa forbids international friendlies so close to the start of the World Cup.”

Parreira will be flying to Brazil with his technical staff on Sunday to prepare for the training camp and he assured the media a strong feature of the Bafana Bafana’s preparation would be the sound planning around training issues.

”Preparation, preparation, preparation is something I cannot emphasise enough,” said Parreira.

”We will drop some of the friendlies that were planned for March, but that is because we know now what our World Cup draw is.” – Sapa