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Parreira's choices send worrying signals

By unknown | Aug 27, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Sipho Mthembu

Sipho Mthembu

I can't wait for Bafana Bafana to get the 2008 Ghana African Cup of Nations qualifiers over and done with.

See, my anxiety has built up steadily and seems to gain momentum as I get more curious where we are headed.

I might sound a little paranoid but I have tried my best to identify coach Carlos Alberto Parreira's stamp on the team but, with qualification the priority, it's almost impossible to read anything.

Parreira comes highly recommended. The man has won the ultimate prize in football - the World Cup.

And not only that, he has led four different countries to the Fifa World Cup finals and is among a few Brazilian coaches who get glowing tributes from the greatest Edson Arantes do Nascimento (Pele) in his bestseller Pele: The Autobiography.

Using his public relations skills acquired from decades of involvement in the game, Parreira has given the best sound bytes: "I am not going to try and turn South Africa into a Brazil.

"We are going to play a flexible system, switching from 4-4-2, 4-3-3 to 3-5-2 depending on what each game required," and, most importantly, his ability to remain calm in the midst of challenges like player unavailability and factors beyond his control.

In spite of all that, I still remain concerned. I am aware I couldn't have timed raising my concerns any worse. Not after a 1-0 loss against Scotland, a mediocre performance that has somehow received generous praise.

Now, there are two factors I am worried about. First, the system. So far, Parreira has played a 4-5-1 system that I observed at times switched to an even ultra-defensive 5-4-1, and that not only away, even at home.

Secondly, Parreira has proved a tad too loyal to certain players who might not be around in 2010. I guess that will disappear after we have qualified.

He also seems to believe in foreign-based players, and in the game against Scotland he had eight starting and, if I am correct, only one, McBeth Sibaya, plays regular football.


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