Ball Harambee By Bagga Wilks
Brazil is breaking out as a world economic super power but it has a long road to hoe before eliminating its sprawling favelas concentrated in its major cities. The favelas reflect the acute inequality of wealth distribution. That is why Brazil’s workers and would be workers came out in mammoth numbers to protect the expenditures on new stadiums for the 2014 World Cup at the expense of improving the living conditions of the poor. Brazil’s class tensions and sprawling poverty is in contrast to the abundance of riches “Big Phil” Scolari has at his disposal as he seeks to select his final squad of twenty three for the 2014 World Cup.
Brazil’s soccer was adrift under Dunga who was the coach at the South African World Cup in 2010 and even further adrift when Mano Menezes succeeded the sacked Dunga. Here comes Scolari to the rescue and for the time that he has been in charge, Brazil slowly but surely returned to its dominance in the world of soccer and are now regarded as favorites to win the 2014 World Cup in front of their adoring fans.
The tough task for Scolari is to settle on the 23 squad and the starting eleven. The back four seems to select themselves with Thiago Silva and David Luiz as the two central defenders. Marcelo is the starting left back and Daniel Alves, appears to be the starting right back. But that is not an open and shut case as the return to form of the 32 year old Maicon puts that position up in the air.
Neymar is the “boss” and will start on the left flank and Oscar seems to be the preference for the mid-fielder playing behind the center-forward who could be Jo or Fred. Hulk played well against Chile and is a serious contender for starting on the right flank.
Paulinho is definite as one of the mid-field players and Gustavo Luiz seemed to be preferred as the defensive mid-fielder shielding the two central defenders. Where does that leave Ramires who is ready to gallop when the opposing team is tiring? Robinho has been brought back and scored from a wonderful cross from Maicon in the Chile game. Will we see the return of Kaka or Ronaldinho?
Scolari should not look backward but give preferential treatment to those in their twenties who can withstand back to back games at the World Cup.
Scolari is another example of the vital importance of coaching. He has turned Dunga’s poverty into Brazilian’s riches.