While this is not supposed to be a coaching manual, I intend to have as many of us as possible watch this World Cup and games to come, differently. It is so we may discuss why the winners got it right and the big guns went home straight.
At this stage of preparation, regeneration is paramount to the teams. Set pieces are the centre of any team programme since they played last warm up games. South Africa as host, do not need much recouperation because they missed the gruelling qualifiers and the league season ended early.
The most important part of Bafana Bafana’s dead ball situations will be kick-off. Now you are wondering if a team can practise kick-off. Yes. Nothing is left to chance and this is the reason. Bafana Bafana are playing in front of the home crowd. They need to bring the vuvuzela orchestra into play without delay and for a good reason.
They will win the centre and must keep possession for a reasonable amount of time to shut the whole world down with noise. They don’t need to be booed by Soccer City. If they lose the toss, Mexico will centre the ball and Bafana must at least touch the ball to bring the crowd into the game. The Vuvu is meant to unsettle Mexico and to affirm the known fact of who’s the hen and who’s the cockrel.
One option is to actually win the toss, centre the ball and kick it into the penalty area. That is a direct message to say we mean business and we are in this penalty area to stay. Knowing Carlos Alberto Parreira as I do, he will try to keep possession until the cows come home, which is another option. Having ball possession means they can do what they want with, and Mexico will be frustrated chasing shadows.
Mexico is a very formidable team, but if you give them a chance against South Africa, you better not put money on it. The game will be high tempo and will set pace for the rest of the tournament. Generally, Parreira will do a lot of corner kicks and penalty kicks. Given the pace he will get and the artistry in midfield, he will be looking to polish Simphiwe Tshabalala and Katlego Mpela’s thunderous boots. There is Steven Pienaar as well.
Where will you be on this historic moment? Stock your fridge with drinks and garage with braai charcool. It will be celebration night. Do you think the government should declare Friday a public holiday?