Fast-talking Santana in attack-mode for Brazil
If South Africa play as well as their coach Joel Santana talks then
Brazil are in for a hiding in Thursday's Confederations Cup semi-final.
The Brazilian was in loquacious form at the eve of match press
conference at Ellis Park on Wednesday, handling questions as deftly as a
seasoned ANC politician.
After speaking eloquently about the honour of meeting Nelson Mandela
earlier in the day, Santana assured Bafana Bafana fans that South Africa
would turn out against the five-time world champions with one thing on
their minds - attack.
"It's impossible to go out and defend for 90 minutes against Brazil," he
"We're going to take the game to them. We might lose but we'd prefer to
lose honestly playing attacking football.
"We learned a lot in the 2-0 defeat to Spain, now we are facing almighty
powerful Brazil. We are going to try and at least match them as much as
possible and to play football as beautiful as theirs.
"Not to be afraid is important, we want to produce a spectacle."
Earlier Santana had overseen his troops' final training session at
Johannesburg's Rand Stadium, the Brazilian barking out instructions in 'engluese',
his sometimes hard to decipher but charming mix of English and
After a training game lasting half an hour, Santana called over the
team's security officer, possibly the largest man in the world, to get
him to clear the stadium as he put the finishing touches to his
masterplan to beat Brazil in secret.
Striker Bernard Parker failed to complete the session after picking up a
minor knee problem and the forward who scored both goals in the 2-0 win
over New Zealand is uncertain for Thursday's game.
He is due to undergo medical tests later on Wednesday and on Thursday
before a decision is taken on whether he will be fit enough to face the
five time world champions.
Later at the press conference Santana then tackled the question of
divided loyalties in leading South Africa out to play his native country
coached by a man he used to coach.
"Note this, playing against Brazil is a professional occasion, South
Africa has accepted me and given me an opportunity to coach the national
team for the Confederations Cup and next year the World Cup.
"It's a historic moment facing Brazil, I know some of the Brazilian
players personally but the important thing is we are going to do our
best against one of the top teamms in the world.
"I thank South Africa with a lot of humility for giving me this chance,"
said the man who played against Pele in a previous life.
Captain Aaron Mokoena said there was an air of excitement in the Bafana
"We're expecting a very very tough game but for the players it's an
exciting moment. We've been waiting for this game for a long time."
Mokoena was part of the South Africa team that beat Brazil 3-0 at the
Olympic Games in Sydney nine years ago and he revealed: "I spoke to the
boys last night about the feeling of beating 'the giants'. For sure
tomorrow is different, Brazil want this badly, but so do we."