A disappointing Portugal performance and encouraging signs from Ivory Coast produced nothing. This group will be hard to decide. Ronaldo faded and a new star in Gervaro of Ivory Coast is emerging. Dindane started well but the Africans are suffering from burn out.
South Africa’s Bafana Bafana play South Americans, Uruguay on Wednesday. In Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira who won the 1994 FIFA World Cup with Brazil who had waited 24 years. He had been criticised before the tournament picking up Dunga who didn’t possess the Brazilian flair. Should he resort to the same anti Diski policy to justify the end?
Football needs characters like the then Dunga, and France’s Laurent Blanc or Dechamps, because they took responsibility in and out of the field of play. This strong character of Dunga brought the stability element their team lacked for 24 years, and the rest is history.
Personally, I think Bafana Bafana will need to shape up to close down Diego Forlan and push forward with Siyabonga Nomvethe. Nomvethe has an advantage of getting into offside positions, which may benefit Bafana Bafana as “home town” decisions may count to their favour.
Bringing in Nomvethe means Letsholonyane will start from the bench, as well as Dikgacoi who must give way to combative Sibaya. Coach Parreira left the amorous Benny McCarthy who may have done the business, but he has my vote for that decision. Bernard Parker must not get the nod ahead of Surprise Moriri, who I want to see on Wednesday. He is a big occasion player.
Both teams will have had enough time for recuperate their energy levels. For Bafana the nerves will not be a factor, given loses of Nigeria to Argentina and Algeria to Slovenia. They feel better off so far. They will take solace in the general outcome of other high-profile games.
The Italians are spent war horses but the Netherlands are standing up to be counted. Robin Van Persie was lively and we hope Arjen Robin will give us his electrifying pace on his anticipated return to the team. New Zealand and Slovenia also shared the spoils, the former making history with their first World Cup points. Such performances are good for the game.
Tactically, Bafana Bafana will have to be compact in defence and midfield. They need to push up field away from Itumeleng Khune’s goal as much as possible. They must convert from defence to attack quickly, increasing the tempo of their game. This will squeeze the game in the Uruguayan half, making it hard for South Americans to defend. They should jealously keep the ball. Uruguay must fight for it.
Uruguay pass and play like Mexico. In my analysis I said they will be tough to play against because they will believe Bafana are the weakest team in their group. Mexico and France grind points off each other on Thursday in a game I think Mexico will win. In that case, it even complicates Bafana’s situation to pull off a good result and get one against France. On Wednesday, they need to play with their hearts like they did on Friday.
Uruguay will be uncomfortable if Nomvethe and Mpela get a lot of through passes to chase. They will not like to defend facing their goal.
It will be crucial for Bafana to draw first blood again, and early. Most likely, the tactics during the past training may have focused in protecting the lead. In this case, with 23 players at camp, the coach gives a scenario of say 8 midfielders and defenders against 11 to defend a lead.
I believe it will be a very nice game for Bafana to enjoy. If Bafana win and Mexico and France draw the next day, it will make the task for Bafana easier. The best case for Bafana Bafana is, they must not care about other results and just win their games.
Brazil will announce their arrival against the Korea DPR in what I guess will be a one sided sad affair for the Asians. I truely wish them the best performance ever, and they will need it. Can they surprise us though? Let me know if you give them a chance.