Parreira still has to decide
Johannesburg - Bafana Bafana head coach Carlos Alberto Parreira admitted he still has a couple of big decisions to make before he names his starting XI for the opening World Cup Group A clash against Mexico at Soccer City.
Parreira conceded that he had not made up his mind on which of the two midfield holding players, Fulham's Kagisho “KG” Dikgacoi or Golden Arrows new star Thanduyise Khuboni he will field in the anchor role against Mexico.
Parreira will test both players when Bafana wrap up their warm-up matches when they play Denmark at a sold out Super Stadium in Atteridgeville on Saturday.
Parreira remarked: “I have a good idea of most of my starting side to play Mexico but I have not made up my mind on whether to play KG or Khuboni. KG has the experience of having played in the English Premiership but Khuboni has developed and improved since we started our camps in January, he has blossomed into a quality player.”
The left back position has also not been settled. Parreira said Israeli based Tsepo Masilela will come on in the second half and has preferred Orlando Pirates versatile Lucas Thwala to start against Denmark. Parreira watched the 36th world ranked Danes lose 1-0 to Australia in Roodepoort on Tuesday but said that Denmark would be Bafana's biggest test to date.
Bafana are unbeaten in 11 matches under Parreira having scored 14 goals and conceded only two in their last five warm-up games.
Parreira stressed: “Denmark are a quality side with tons of experience. They are physically imposing and while they are not as skilful and technically as good as Mexico they are still a class side that will give us plenty to think about.”
Parreria said that he had watched Mexico's last three internationals against England, Holland and their 2-1 win over defending world champions Italy in Brussels, Belgium on Thursday night.
Parreira remarked: “ Denmark will help me fine tune the side for Mexico. I was impressed by the Mexicans display against Italy. They dominated the world champions and were unlucky to lose to both Holland and England. We are in a tough group with Mexico, Uruguay and France and playing Mexico first is going to be a challenge. But we are ready and I am confident we will have a successful World Cup.”
Parreria is happy with his preparations and said it would not be the end of the world should Bafana lose to Denmark but he added: “I want to win and so do the players. We want to keep the winning momentum going. But more important is that we play well.”
Parreira said he would bring back his number one keeper Itumeleng Khune in place of Moeneeb Josephs against Denmark. Josephs replaced Khune at halftime of the 2-1 win over Colombia at Soccer City last Thursday night after the Kaizer Chiefs star was injured.
Joked Parreira: “Khune recovered very quickly when he saw how well Moeneeb played against Colombia and against Guatemala. But it gives the players and me confidence knowing we have a top class keeper in Josephs standing by.”
Bafana destroyed the Guatamala team 5-0 in Polokwane on Monday night.
The fact Denmark have qualified for four World Cup tells they are consistent and are a no frills side that will force Bafana to run and chase every ball and fight for possession.
Bafana strikers Katlego Mphela and Bernard Parker can expect a tough time from the likes of Liverpool's Daniel Agger, Blackburn Rovers Lars Jacobsen and Fiorentina hard man Per Kroldnup.
The Danish star is Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner who has an uncanny knock of unlocking the tightest of defences.
Bafana captain Aaron Mokoena who has played against Bendtner for Portsmouth in the English Premiership is expected to get the job of keeping the big Dane quiet.
The fact that the tickets were sold out in six hours ensures that Bafana's 12th man will play a part in unsettling the Danes and helping Bafana go into the World Cup against Mexico unbeaten in their warm-up programme.