The future looks yellow
Carlos Alberto Parreira has been moving swiftly to put his spin on the national side’s performance, seeking to establish a positive legacy before he departs after the end of the tournament.
His tenure is the second longest by anyone in the Bafana job, and was spread over two distinct spells. The first a flop at the 2008 African Nations Cup finals in Ghana, admittedly without a full strength squad as he sought to give players a taste of top competition experience .
The second was the Soccer World Cup, which depending on your point of view, has either turned out satisfactory or left a sour taste.
Here are a selection of quotes.
On the experience:
“It has been eight months of being totally integrated, totally dedicated to the team. But I’m alright, I’m happy.
Maybe you go through all this, but you do not get what you expected. Although we did not qualify for the next round, we are happy with what the boys have achieved as a country. They do have an identity now, they do have a face. Some people—not millions—told me, ‘coach, I’m happy because somehow you’ve united this country, wearing yellow.’ This thing will remain for good. The foundation is there, it has been laid out by Safa, by ourselves, by the players. This is something that you feel rejoiced [about] afterwards.
On choosing the right players:
“I picked anyone which we wanted. People told me ... I needed to force a selection, but it doesn’t work like that. We select the ones we believe will be helpful for the rest. Be assured that [other people telling him who to choose] never happens. We had full responsibility.
On preparations and his successor:
“We were the only team so far that didn’t have any injury. We could count on all the players from the very beginning ... everybody did a wonderful job. The preparations have been done in a very professional way and Pitso [Mosimane] was there, following every step, taking part. Because this is my way of working. If you are a leader, you have to build another leader. I always gave him an opportunity to work ... so I believe he is ready for the work. I am happy to have Safa confirm him officially.
On his departure:
“I’ll be [in South Africa] until the end of the World Cup, I’m going home end of July. If I’m invited I’ll come back, because this is my second country now. I feel so happy in South Africa. And people treated me so good. We haven’t qualified but people are so happy, you can’t imagine. We go across the street, how many people say [coach], thank you very much and you make this country proud’. And I don’t take [these laurels] personally, I take it for my team, for my players who I think were very committed all the way from the very beginning. I worked in many national teams, but this one was a special one. I’ve never been happier in a group for as long as three months, away from the family, away from the friends ... they’re so committed, so disciplined ... I want to make this clear for the people to know that they have to praise and appreciate what these boys have done.”