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Andrew Hallett attended South Africa's training session on Friday and drew a number of conclusions...
Last Updated: June 18, 2010 4:11pm
On the run: South Africa are put through their paces
The majority of the training session saw the squad broken up into two groups. The one group consisted of the guys who are considered starters, while the other was the also rans. Parreira might have shown his hand to an extent because Bernard Parker was training with the likes of Katlego Mphela which could indicate a switch to 4-4-2 against the French.
Kagiso Dikgacoi is suspended so he trained with the bench warmers but with Teko Modise also carrying a slight knock, Parreira might make a couple of changes and much of the speculation centres around central midfield.
In For Dick-Aah-Choi?
After training, MacBeth Sibaya told the media he is unsure of who will come in to replace Dikgacoi. I say Sibaya is the best option to replace the Fulham midfielder, but Thanduyise Khuboni is also in with a shout. The Golden Arrows man impressed during the training camps and warm-up games ahead of the World Cup, but Parreira seems to have lost faith somewhat following the Colombia game where the youngster struggled.
The Brazilian mentor was keeping an eye on both Khuboni and Sibaya during training and had them play on opposite sides during a practice match to see who was looking sharper. And in case you were wondering, Lance Davids has about as good a chance as me of making the starting eleven.
The Lazy Boys
Some say that footballers have it easy. They get paid very good money, for the most part, and only work half days, with training in the morning and rest in the afternoons. At training today, Parker and Katlego Mphela took that 'easy' tag to a whole new level. While Siphiwe Tshabalala and his fellow midfielders practised their set-pieces and the defenders did some stretching, Parker and Mphela lay behind the goal and relaxed, without a care in the world. They say forwards need to be a little laid back in order to absorb the pressure of finding the back of the net - but these two just took it a little too far.
Whenever I see Carlos Alberto Parreira, he always looks relaxed, as if nothing could unsettle him. However, in training today he looked a worried man. Not once standing still, the former Brazil coach was clearly unsettled and looking for answers from his charges on the training pitch. It had all looked so good for the team going into the showpiece, but in the blink of an eye it has all started to unravel. Parreira has some big decisions to make ahead of what looks like being his final match in charge of the South African national team.
Before both of the group games, the squad sang as they got off the bus at the stadium and in the tunnel. The team were in fantastic spirits. Even in the short training sessions I saw them at before (the media were kicked out before anything noteworthy conclusions could be drawn) they were in a good, positive mood. However, today they looked a shadow of their old selves, just getting on with things. It is understandable following the devastating defeat to Uruguay, but at the same time it is sad as the team looks to have lost hope.
Booooooooth In Attack?
It is getting to the point for Bafana Bafana where they will need to try anything to grab a goal after scoring just one in two games. Goals are what they need if they are to have any chance of progressing out of the group stage. There may be a secret weapon waiting in the wings, however. Matthew Booth was tremendous in front of goal at training, tucking everything away with grace and ease during the practice match. He made Itumuleng Khune look silly at times as he caressed the ball and scored from all angles. Now we all know that this will never happen in a match, but it is good to see that someone is finding the back of the net. It would be funny to see him in attack against France, though. Come on, admit it...
Josephs The Joker
While the majority of the team did not look as if they were too keen to be there, Moeneeb Josephs tried his best to lighten the mood. While the likes of Steven Pienaar and Tshabalala were taking free kicks against him, he continually asked the wall to move left and right, back and forth. However, the wall in question was made up of those metal, human-shaped barriers. To his disgust the wall never once responded, but he kept on trying. I really do hope he was trying to lighten the mood, or else he is just losing the plot. Good old Slimkat.
Andrew Hallett in Johannesburg