Namibia Braves for new Bafana

South Africa has just appointed veteran coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, who guided Brazil to the glory of winning the 1994 World Cup. The Brazilian quit after Brazil’s quarter-final exit at this year’s FIFA World Cup in Germany, when they lost to France.

The Namibia-South Africa friendly will be Parreira’s first high level match, while for the Namibian coach Ben Bamfuchile it will be a “continuation from where the squad left off in the Cosafa tournament last month.”

The match is in accordance with Fifa’s calendar for international matches on the continent, which means that all the foreign-based players have the right to be released by their clubs.

Brave Warriors team manager, Markus Damaseb, confirmed that local players would be reporting for duty tomorrow (Monday), while all the foreign-based professionals will have to report at least three days before the match.

Namibia has twice beaten South Africa in Windhoek and both wins were during the Cosafa Castle Cup matches (1998 and 1999).

In the first instance Namibia beat a star-studded Bafana Bafana side 3-2 at the Independence Stadium, with goals coming from Stanley Goraseb, Bimbo Tjihero and Berlin Auchumeb.

That match possibly remains the most unforgettable for defender Tjihero, who struck from over 30 metres to beat famous SA goalkeeper Brian Baloyi.

Thabo Mooki and Phil Masinga were on target for South Africa.

In the same year, Namibia lost 4-1 to South Africa in an African Nations Cup match in Burkina Faso, a match that Namibia’s Ronnie Kanalelo won’t easily forget.

The following year, Namibia won 4-1 in a penalty shoot-out after a 1-1 draw, with goals from Congo Hindjou and Pollen Ndlanya.

This time, the match could swing either ways, as South Africa is no longer the major threat they used to be in southern Africa. Captain of the local national team, Stanley Lollo Goraseb, is the only player still around from those heydays, while Congo Hindjou has been told to pick up his match fitness levels by coach Ben Bamfuchile. Ronnie Kanalelo is no longer in goals, but on the technical staff.

“A match against South Africa means a lot to Namibians; do not be surprised to see fans turn up for the match in far greater numbers than for the Cosafa Games. That’s how highly Namibians regard a match with South Africa,” said Markus Damaseb.

The match, which is likely to see a handful of younger and experienced players being fielded by both countries, promises to produce fireworks.

It comes two weeks before Parreira takes on Congo Brazzaville in the African Nations Cup qualifier in September, while Namibia will be travelling to the Democratic Republic of Congo on the same assignment.

Bafana Bafana caretaker coach Pitso Mosimane has already been mandated to pick the squad for the Namibia friendly; this means the new R1-million-a-month coach might be in Namibia only to acquaint himself with South African players. South Africa will also meet Zambia away in a potentially explosive African Nations Cup qualifier group match later in October.

Carlos Parreira is not new to African football; his previous African experience was on the coaching staff of Ghana in 1968, when they reached the final of the African Nations Cup ‘ almost 40 years ago when he was still in his mid-20s. He becomes the 14th coach for South Africa since the country returned to international competition 14 years ago.

Earning R1 million until World Cup 2010 in South Africa, Parreira has been offered an opportunity to coach a record-breaking sixth World Cup squad. Besides leading Brazil to the 1994 title, the 63-year-old also coached Kuwait in 1976 and 1982; took the United Arab Emirates to the 1990 World Cup finals and in 1998 was fired after Saudi Arabia’s first two matches during the World Cup tournament in France.

His first World Cup was in 1970 as Brazil’s fitness trainer and, after leading Kuwait to their first World Cup tournament in 1982, Parreira was appointed as Brazilian coach in 1983. He resigned a year later after indifferent results and returned to club football.

He was named Brazil’s coach for a second time in 1991, replacing Paulo Roberto Falcao, and his team went on to win the 1994 world cup, for the first time in 24 years. He, again, resigned.

He was appointed Brazil coach for the third time in 2003, winning the Copa America in 2004 and the Confederations Cup in Germany one year later.

South Africa had targeted former England coach Sven-G’ran Erickson, but the Swede fell-out after a lackluster performance at this years’ world cup.

Ben Bamfuchile says after this friendly match, it will be “equally satisfactory” if the Brave Warriors can also be hosted by Bafana Bafana for another reverse friendly, as it will give the technical teams of both sides a chance for maximum perfection before the nation’s cup qualifiers begin in September.

August 2006
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