Ball Harambee By Bagga Wilks
The Brazilian Football Federation has changed horses in mid-stream. They
have fired Mano Menezes and replaced him with “Big Phil” Scolari. Since the
second coming of Scolari, the Brazilian national team has not made much of a
dramatic turn around. The Selecao possesses an abundance of talent but the
molding of a great team has just not occurred. The Confederation Cup will be a
test as to what this Scolari aggregation is capable of achieving.
At the end of the friendly with Chile that was drawn 2-2, the disappointed
Brazilian fans, 50,000 strong, booed the poor performance of the team. As a
result, Scolari in the Confederation Cup has opted to go with the young, the
promising and the untested. In the Confederation aggregation, there is no Kaka,
no Robinho, and no Ronaldinho. And even though Chelsea’s Ramires is in the
bloom of his career, he was not included.
All signs pointed to Neymar being signed by Barcelona and making his
departure from Brazil. Neymar, from whom much is expected in 2014, has been
roughed up not by his opponents but by the fans at Santos and in Brazil in
general. Scolari has been encouraging Neymar to play abroad and to develop his
full potential. Santos recognizes that the timing is right and if they waited
another year, Neymar would have been out of contract and they would have
received no compensation for his departure.
World Cup teams need new stars to emerge and establish their credentials
on the world stage. Bernard, Ronaldinho’s team-mate at Athletico Mineiro, is
designated as a rising star. Often designated stars flop on the international stage
like Ganso. But Neymar is no Atlas and cannot single-handedly carry Brazil to
another notch in 2014.
Scolari is in the spotlight. Time is of the essence and if he “bombs” in the
Confederation Cup, then the boos will not only be directed at the players but at
the new manager. Scolari is a long way from covered with glory.