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Pitso and Parreira had a plan

2010-06-07 10:56
Johannesburg - Assistant coach Pitso Mosimane has described how Bafana Bafana's technical team whipped the players into Soccer World Cup shape.

Gallery: Bafana magic against Denmark

Win: World Cup Havaianas

Carlos Alberto Parreira's number two could barely hide his delight as South Africa downed highly-rated Denmark 1-0 on Saturday to extend their unbeaten run to 12 games ahead of the showpiece.

Mosimane feels it is no co-incidence that the positive results returned when Parreira resumed his role as head coach.

The Brazilian is a a charismatic man and together with his backroom staff, worked on bolstering the players' morale.

"We have not changed the players. There was no need to," explained Mosimane.

"But what we have done is work on the players physical and mental strengths and both have improved a 1,000 percent over the past five months of camps we have had for the players.

"We have given the players back their self-belief and confidence. You cannot play professional soccer if you are not 100 percent fit. With that in mind, our priority in the camps (in Durban, Brazil and Germany) was to work on their fitness levels."

Speaking on the clash with Denmark, Mosimane added: "Denmark was our biggest test in the warm-up period. This was the ice breaker for the main event - our match against Mexico in the opening World Cup match at Soccer City on Friday.

"The Danes are a quality side full of top class professionals who play in the top European leagues. The bottom line is that Denmark also used this game to prepare for their opening World Cup match and did not come to the Super Stadium to lose.

"It was a hard and searching examination of our ability and qualities and we passed this test."

However, Parreira's right-hand man knows Mexico will provide an entirely different challenge for Bafana to overcome.

El Tri, ranked 17th in world football, are fast, slick and highly-skilled. They narrowly lost to England - despite dominating the game and then outplayed World Champions Italy without breaking a sweat.

"They are an incredible team. I struggle to work out their system, as they are so flexible," Mosimane said of the Mexicans.

"I watched them lose to England and Holland and on both occasions they did not deserve to lose.

"And then last Thursday they outplayed world champions Italy.

"Forget that they only won 2-1 (in Brussels), it could have been 5-1 - that is how much the Mexicans dominated.

"That was a warning that we cannot get carried away about going 12 games unbeaten. It has to count when it matters most and that is in the biggest tournament of all - the World Cup.

"We will respect Mexico but we are not afraid. We have proved that we are side to be reckoned with," concluded Bafana's assistant coach. 

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