Outrage Junkiesby Carlos Amato / 28.10.2009
South Africans tend to be outrage junkies, and Bafana fans are no exception. We were appalled when Carlos Alberto Parreira left. Now we’re appalled that he’s back. It’s called a low centre of memory.
The current mood of jingoistic indignance may be fun, but it’s not clever. Especially tiresome is that hoary, proto-fascist dictum: “local is lekker”. Stop these Brazilian kwerekweres and their jobs-for-amigos programme! Fuck them with their big noses and their even bigger paycheques! And while we’re at it, fuck the outside football world in general!
Let’s bring back the good ol’ boytjies: Clive Barker, Lucas Radebe, Jomo Sono, Shaka Zulu, Nonqgawuse, De La Rey!
To hell with the ever-evolving complexities of the modern game. We’ll just howl Shosholoza and muti them all to smithereens: sprinkle a finely grated hyena over each goalmouth and let amadlozi do the rest. That’s complexity for you.
The anti-Parreira, anti-foreign reflex is pure projection. Alarmed by the chronic, structural illness of our football, we blame it on the paramedics.
This is no defence of Joel Santana. He brought some valuable tactical wisdom, but he was doomed by his linguistic laziness. Eventually, the players got rid of him by losing, because they couldn’t understand him. Nobody could, and he had to go. Fair enough.
But Parreira is not Santana. They may be compatriots, and they may both have sizeable schnozzes, but that’s as far as the commonalities go.
The fans have forgotten that during Parreira’s first tenure, Bafana played some sumptuously fluid, charismatic football – better than anything the team served up in the Clive Barker era.
The scorelines weren’t always so sweet – that home defeat to Zambia in Cape Town still sticks in the craw. But in several key performances (the Paraguay and Senegal games come to mind) Bafana glittered.
Parreira understands our game’s eccentric fusion of naivete and sophistication, and he encouraged the team to indulge their purist short-passing instincts. It was romantic football, generous and joyous. Needless to say a dash of penetration was sorely needed – and that’s the problem Parreira now has to solve.
Because he’s back. He speaks English (praise the Lord!) and he’s calm, clever and likeable. So why are we bitching and moaning?
Because Parreira is an imperialist uitlander who earns R1.8-million a month, funded by our bank charges and beer budgets.
So what? Football is a lucrative industry, in which expertise is expensive. Go and win a World Cup if you want to earn a similar salary.
And if Parreira gets Bafana to the World Cup quarterfinals, playing elegant football, he’ll be worth every last million.
Montage: MAIL & GUARDIAN (JOHN McCANN)