26 February 2014
African Nations Cup-winning Bafana Bafana coach Clive Barker is backing current coach Gordon Igesund to come good against five-time World Cup winners Brazil when the two teams clash at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on 5 March.
Barker was at the helm when South Africa and Brazil met in 1996 and 1997. The Brazilians won both matches, 3-2 and 2-1 respectively.
The former match, contested between the then African champions and world champions, has gone down as a classic in South African football history.
The value of experience
“I believe in both matches, first at FNB Stadium, when we lost 3-2 having led 2-0 at halftime, and secondly at Ellis Park in the 2-1 loss, we could have come up with better results had we had a bit of experience,” the Black Aces mentor said in a statement late last week.
He said one thing that Bafana Bafana needed to remind themselves of was that, regardless of names, it would be a contest of 11 men against 11 men.
“One of the biggest short-comings is to give too much respect to your opponents. Yes, Brazil have a star-studded team, but that means nothing once you walk onto the pitch,” Barker said.
He declared himself impressed by Igesund’s charges when they beat Spain at the same venue late last year, and said he was expecting a repeat of those heroics from the local boys.
“This is a big match for everyone. It is every player’s dream to play against world beaters like Brazil, and I think that inspiration will drive all players to go all out.”
Brazil will be using the match to launch their 2014 World Cup playing kit. They will use the home kit in the opening half and change into their away kit for the second half.
Bafana Bafana will also be launching their new limited edition Nike kit on the night.
“We are using the match as a handover of the 2010 Fifa World Cup hosts to 2014 hosts,” said South African Football Association president Danny Jordaan.
The match kicks off at 19:00 and tickets are going for R50 (upper tier), R100 (lower tier) and R200 (middle tier).
The Brazilian squad will arrive on Monday, 3 March, in three batches at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg.
Having previously named a squad of 15 European-based players, coach Felipe Scolari has added three players who ply their trade in Brazil, namely Fluminense’s Fred, Atletico Mineiro striker Jo and Botafogo goalkeeper Jefferson.
Fred was the top goal scorer in the 2013 Fifa Confederations Cup, which Brazil won, netting five times, but missed the 1-0 loss to Switzerland in August because of injury.
Jo has become a regular under Scolari, while Jefferson returns after missing November’s friendlies against Honduras and Chile.
‘A good opportunity’
“It’s a good opportunity to meet the group, our last before the final squad of the World Cup [is decided],” Scolari said in a statement released by Confederaçao Brasileira de Futebol (CBF).
“It will be an important test against an African team who recently beat Spain, and a good time to talk to the players and coaching staff on planning for the World Cup.”
SAinfo reporter and South African Football Association