Paraguay Coach On Mandela & SA ‘Honour’
Juan Carlos Osorio, the head coach of Paraguay, says that it is an honour for the whole squad to be playing in a game to celebrate the birthday of Nelson Mandela.
Los Guaraníes La Albirroja and Bafana Bafana will battle it out this evening in the Nelson Mandela Challenge at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, with South Africa facing non-African opposition for the first time in several years.
Like Stuart Baxter, Osorio has spoken of the pride in the camp that they can play in such an occasion, calling it a ‘special day’.
The Colombian told SAFA, “It’s an honour that we can play against South Africa here in a special day for the whole nation. I think Mr Mandela has been a model (for) many, and we’re proud to be here to celebrate his birthday.
Meanwhile, in terms of how he sees the encounter with Bafana, Osorio said, “As far as the game is concerned, I think it’s very important, but I do not think that the most important thing is the result. It’s about how we perform.
“Paraguay has a crop of young players between the ages of 19 and 22 that I believe that, if they are well trained, in the future they can give the country a lot of happy days and good games.
“We’ll try to put a starting XI and then give six more a chance to play against an important team, and hopefully we’ll learn a lot.”
Tonight’s clash will be the fourth meeting of the two teams, with two draws (2-2 in 2002 and 1-1 in 2010) and one Bafana victory (3-0 in 2008) being the results in the previous three encounters.