Bafana to be 70% locally based
Carlos Parreira (Gallo Images)
Durban - When Bafana Bafana coach Carlos Parreira announces his final squad for the World Cup, expect as much as 70% of the team to be locally based.
This was one of the main talking points to emerge from a press conference held in Durban on Monday.
Parreira reckons that although not confirmed at this stage, he expects only about five or six players to be available for their camp in Brazil, scheduled for March.
"It's not easy to get the overseas players released, we still have to get in contact with the clubs. Some clubs have indicated that they will release players, but I'm not convinced that we'll get their support when the time comes," said Parreira.
"Therefore, we can't wait for things to happen. We have to make things happen for ourselves. That is why we're working with the locals who we are hope will give us what we are looking for, at least 60-70% of the final team will be locally based.
"We have a huge task on our hands qualifying from the group we've been drawn in for the World Cup. But in saying that, it is not an impossible task. We have to work towards achieving excellence in all our matches.
"With that in mind, we have put together these intensive camps. Our next trip is to Brazil where we will play up to nine friendly matches. There, we will get used to playing the Brazillian style of football and working on the art of keeping possession. This will be followed by camp in Germany and ending in Johannesburg.
"Unfortunately, many of the overseas based players are not playing 90 minutes on a regular basis. Some have not been in action for as long as three months.
"Even with them, we cannot predict whether they will be available by the time we announce the final squad on May 15. So we can't depend on them or any other overseas player for that matter, that's why it is important to get the local players into the right condition."
Parreira and his 29-man squad of players arrived in Durban last Friday to kick-off what he regards as the start of his 'final wrap' in terms of his preparations for the World Cup.
Apart from a regimented fitness programme, the team is also fixtured to play a training match against Swaziland in Chatsworth on Saturday Jan 23, followed by an International Friendly against Zimbabwe at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on January 27.
When quizzed if the door is closed to other players wishing to make the final cut, Parreira sad: "We have been looking at players from 2007 and in that time we have worked with about 140 players. Now is not the time to be looking at players.
Some players were not included in the squad at this stage due to various reasons, but they can be brought in for future camps," said the coach.