Santana ready for Brazil
If South Africa can play as well as their coach Joel Santana can talk, then Brazil are in for a hiding in Thursday 25 June's FIFA Confederations Cup semi-final.
The Brazilian supremo was in loquacious form at the eve of match press conference at Ellis Park on Wednesday 24 June, handling questions as deftly as any seasoned politician.
After speaking eloquently about the honour of meeting Nelson Mandela earlier in the day, Santana assured Bafana Bafana fans that South Africa would turn out against the five-time world champions with one thing on their minds: attack.
"It's impossible to go out and defend for 90 minutes against Brazil," he stated. "We're going to take the game to them. We might lose but we'd prefer to lose honestly playing attacking football.
"We learned a lot in the 2-0 defeat to Spain, now we are facing almighty powerful Brazil,"he continued. "We are going to try and at least match them as much as possible and to play football as beautiful as theirs. Not to be afraid is important, we want to produce a spectacle."
Earlier Santana had overseen his troops' final training session at Johannesburg's Rand Stadium, the Brazilian barking out instructions in 'Engluese', his own curious mix of English and Portuguese.
After a training game lasting half an hour, Santana called over the team's burly security officer to get him to clear the stadium as he put the finishing touches to his tactical masterplan.
Striker Bernard Parker failed to complete the session after picking up a minor knee problem and the forward, who scored both goals in the 2-0 group win over New Zealand, is uncertain for Thursday's game.
He is due to undergo medical tests later on Wednesday and again on Thursday before a decision is taken on whether he will be fit enough to face the South American champions.
Later at the press conference Santana tackled the question of possible divided loyalties, given he will be leading South Africa out to play his native country, who are led by a man he also used to coach.
"Note this, playing against Brazil is a professional occasion, South Africa has accepted me and given me an opportunity to coach the national team for the Confederations Cup and next year the World Cup.
"It's a historic moment facing Brazil, I know some of the Brazilian players personally but the important thing is we are going to do our best against one of the top teams in the world.
"I thank South Africa with a lot of humility for giving me this chance," he concluded.
Meanwhile, captain Aaron Mokoena said there was a great air of excitement in the Bafana Bafana camp: "We're expecting a very very tough game but for the players it's an exciting moment. We've been waiting for this game for a long time."
Mokoena was part of the South Africa team that beat Brazil 3-0 at the Olympic Football Tournament in Sydney nine years ago: "I spoke to the boys last night about the feeling of beating 'the giants'. For sure tomorrow is different, Brazil want this badly, but so do we."