50/50 if Benni makes the World Cup says Parreira
Carlos Alberto Parreira has challenged Benni McCarthy to get himself back into tip-top shape ahead of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
McCarthy arrived in the country this week to join up with Bafana Bafana and at training on Friday at Marks Park, it was still evident that a lack of game time in the English Premiership has left him carrying a little weight going into South Africa’s final preparations.
The West Ham United striker, like the rest of the squad, has undergone a series of fitness tests and Bafana’s physical trainer Francisco Gonzalez will doubtless have it as one of his top priorities to now get McCarthy in the zone for the game against Mexico on June 11.
“Benni … is not in his ideal condition,” admitted Parreira.
“He hasn’t played for three weeks. Since February, when he moved to West Ham, I think he’s played two games. That’s why he is here for one month, he has to help us and we are going to give him good support to get in good shape. But it’s not only us, it’s up to him as well, to respond to the training.”
McCarthy started just two games for West Ham since joining them in the January transfer window, making just three other late substitute appearances.
Bafana’s leading scorer has, at least, shown his commitment to the cause by arriving in camp early, ahead of Bafana’s other England-based players.
He will play no part in the game against Thailand tomorrow, as Parreira sees no point in putting him on the field until he is back in shape.
“If he plays without being in good shape, it will not benefit him,” said Parreira. “He has to play with confidence, then he will do well.”
Bryce Moon’s arrival in camp yesterday took the overseas-based contingent currently with the squad to four, with goalkeeper Rowen Fernandez and striker Bernard Parker also in camp.
None of these players will start the game against Thailand, though Parker, Parreira indicated, could get a chance off the bench.
The starting line-up will consist of just one change from the 2-0 victory over Jamaica, Reneilwe Letsholonyane getting an oppor- tunity in the centre of midfield in place of Lance Davids.
Parreira, instead, stressed the need for another friendly on May 31 to give his overseas-based players, who will continue to arrive next week, a chance to bed into the side.
Bafana are already playing Bulgaria on May 24 at Soccer City, Colombia on May 27 at Greenpoint Stadium in Cape Town, an Denmark on June 5 at Loftus.
The SA Football Association are already trying to get Argentina to agree to play Bafana on May 31, but Parreira said they also had “two or three” other teams lined up should they fail to net the South American giants.
“They (Safa) know we need a game on the 31st,” said Parreira.