The Cup through Tshosane’s crystal ball
The Zebras head-coach Stanley Tshosane opines that this weekend will decide which African countries are going back home and which are proceeding to the last 16. Tshosane reckons that Algeria might shock England and believes that following their last showing, Fabio Capello’s men may not make it to the last 16.
Five African countries that hold the key to the continent’s success proceed to the second group matches in search of the valuable three points.
After a disappointing 0-1 loss to Argentina, Nigeria has to get their campaign back on track today against Greece in a match that may see the ‘Super Eagles’ taking a long flight back home.
Tshosane does not believe the Super Eagles have anything more to offer than they did against Argentina. “They have a very thin bench, and if they win I believe it would just be because Greece itself is a weaker side,” he said.
Algeria gets its campaign under way on Friday evening against a wounded England in another must win encounter. The Desert Foxes as the North Africans are called have a daunting task of getting three points against an English side desperate for a win.
“England struggled in their game against the USA and I believe they may find Algeria a bit tough. If they come with the same approach of using a lone striker, they will find the Africans hard to break,” he said.
Tshosane said USA and Algeria play the same physical style of football. “England’s quarterbacks did not have it easy against USA and they will find the same resistance against Algeria. I don’t see England going through,” said the Zebras tactician.
There are two matches involving African sides on Saturday. Ghana will face off with a humiliated Australian side in the afternoon. The ‘Black Stars’ come into this game with their shining brighter after securing three points against a stubborn Serbian team, courtesy of a well-executed Asamoah Agyan penalty.
This is a match that Tshosane gives to Ghana without hesitation. “For me this is a game to watch. Ghana has one foot in the last 16 and I don’t see them struggling against Australia,” he said.
In what Tshosane termed a clash of wounded buffaloes, Cameroon lock horns with Denmark with both sides looking for a win to give themselves a lifeline.
“Cameroon did not play badly against Japan. I believe the game was lost from the bench. There are experienced players that I and everybody else expected to start the match, but were left on the bench. The team only came to life after the players were introduced,” charged Tshosane.
The Zebras mentor said he expects players like Alex Song, Mohammadou Idrissou and Geremi Njitap to start the do or die match against Denmark.
On Sunday 20 June, Africa will stand still to witness a mouth-watering encounter between Ivory Coast and five times world champions Brazil. The match has been pencilled for the largest stadium in Africa. Formerly known as FNB, Soccer City is located in Soweto Johannesburg, in the vicinity of South African Football Association (SAFA) and can seat 94 700 spectators, so far the largest stadium in Africa.
Brazil comes into the encounter after a not so impressive 2-1 win against the relatively unknown Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, while Didier Drogba’s led Elephants would be spurred on after an impressive 0-0 draw against Portugal. A game that many soccer pundits believe Ivory Coast should have won convincingly.
“This would be a massive match. It is going to be tough, but after watching Ivory Coast reap Portugal with ease, I’m hopeful that they will stand their ground against Brazil,” said Tshosane.
The coach was however worried that Africa teams always seem to be intimidated by Brazilian players. “They throw themselves at them, earning unnecessary cautions which at times will look like the referee is biased towards Brazilians,” said Tshosane.
Despite his respect for the only team that has never failed to qualify for any world cup, Tshosane does not see Brazil winning the 2010 competition.
“I think coach Dunga is building for the 2014 world cup. Brazil has brought a lot of youngsters which makes me suspect that Dunga is aiming to win the cup on home soil,” opined Tshosane.