Monday, May 27, 2013

Scolari Hears the Boos

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.

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