A dearth of talent in A Seleção

They can't even successfully pose for the camera!

Following Dunga’s resignation after the last World Cup, Mano Menezes  appointment as the new coach for the Brazilian National team was supposed to usher in a new set of Samba stars as the South American football-crazy nation looked to build a solid team for the next mundial which would be hosted on home soil.
With less competitive games coming up, The Canarinhas embarked on a World tour of friendly matches to tune up for the 2011 Copa America as well as building a platform for the team for the 2014 World Cup.
A good number of the South Africa band (those who were are the last World Cup in Africa) are still in his team while a new set of younger lads have been added to the freshen up mix.

In Mano’s first eight official games, his team won five, lost two and played one draw. The Brazilian Samba play appeared to be back after the rigid counter-attacking football of Dunga’s tenure. The last two friendlies before the Copa America revealed a different side to Menezes’ team – A goalless drew against their World Cup nemesis Netherlands in Goiania was followed by a labored 1-0 win over Romania three days later.

With their poor display at the 2011 Copa America where they they came as defending champions, A Seleção drew their first two group games against Venezuela and Paraguay and were on the brink of  elimination at the group stage till they  rallied to a 4-2 victory  over Ecuador in the last group game. However  they were sent packing  in the Quarter finals by Paraguay in a game that ended goalless. In the Penalty shootout that ensued, the Brazilians failed to convert a single spot kick. Amazing!

I have taken a critical look at the team. This led to my thought – A dearth of quality in A Seleção

The Samba boys did not entertain us, they played poorly with no co-ordination and there was no satellite in the team how much more a star.

Julio Cesar is a good goalkeeper but his errors in 2011 alone for both club and country makes me have a rethink about his qualities as a reliable last line of defense.

For a country not really blessed with exceptional centre halves, this crop have good ones now (Lucio, Thiago Silva, David Luiz) but still, their strength in defense are their full backs or wings backs who give a lot to the team when defending and attacking as well. No quality replacement for Roberto Carlos and Cafu. Andre Santos is a No for me, Marcelo is manageable. Dani Alves has shown severally that he isn’t in the class in spite of all his Barca’s performances while Maicon’s poor season is inexplicable.

The central midfield pairing of Lucas Leivia and Ramires. Are they best available? No disrespect to either player as they ply their trade in the Barclays Premier League in England but I feel they are not Samba quality. I remember Dunga, Emerson, Gilberto Silva etc.

Kaka', Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Cafu?

The attacking midfielders and forwards which have been Brazil’s weapon in the past calls for scrutiny too. Ganso is not a Kaka’ replacement as he seems a bit slow and relies more on his technical attributes – A Juan Roman Riquelme to me. How much success did Roman bring to his national team? Endless names like Ronaldinho, Kaka’, Rivaldo, Leonardo comes to ones mind.

Highly rated Neymar is a diamond in the dirt. A talent who needs to be nurtured and integrated slowly into A Seleção with less pressure. Elano and Robinho haven’t cut it as expected – they keep blowing hot and cold.
Alexandre Pato is Menezes’ point man in attack but his 6 goals in 16 appearances since he debuted in 2008 cannot give comfort to anyone as Brazil continue to search effectively for Ronaldo Nazirio de Lima’s replacement five years after he stopped featuring for the national team. Some will say Luis Fabiano but where is he today?

No... he can't be seeking inspiration from here

Menezes future is not certain with his team’s poor showing at the COMEBOL tournament. Passionate Brazilians need to look inward to realize that 2014 World Cup dream might be more than a mountain to climb, particularly with Spain’s domination of World football and the likes of Germany getting stronger not to forget their neighbours Uruguay.

The latest FIFA ranking has seen the once table topping A Seleção drop to a lowly fifth place.. yes lowly by their standard! An outcome of the dearth of talents which has lead to poor football display and consequently poor results.

A dearth of quality talent is a reality dawning on A Seleção!

4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by wireless on July 21, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Nice one lako.. But I disagree w ur comments about ganso..that boy is a rare talent, u ought to see him play for santos..I think the team has lost the samba in them, and what they need is a coach that can ignite the flair they once had(think Arsenal). Football is not just a sport, its a culture and brazil is fast losing its culture.


  2. I don’t think it is the talent that is lacking, we are just witnessing a loss in the passion for the the beautiful game, because the African and South American players, who probably never thought they will amount to anything, end up being paid more money than their home country makes in a year (just exaggerating) are losing their love for the game and are being driven by the love of money. As we can see, the countries that used to produce the best talents in the world, seem too have the most washed up talents these days, and the European countries that have players that are focused and know that to be the successful in anything, you can’t just depend on talent, it is also focus on the right things and consistency that makes a player become a legend quickly.
    I think if the players can just rediscover why the loved the game originally, then we will see talent transformed to true quality, and maybe the English media will realize that their players are not as talented as they think they are… lol


  3. i’m afraid i don’t agree with much of what’s written here. there are more fundamental issues than talent, or lack of ‘passion’. it has to do with the direction of international football.

    1. Uruguay and Paraguay have qualified for the Copa final, despite winning just 2 games between them. Uruguay have won both those games. international football has moved toward first and foremost NOT LOSING, and it has enabled far smaller teams to frustrate the bigger teams, and wait for a chance to pounce. it is easier to organise a good defence at international level, than it is to fashion an attack that can break it down. of all the teams that did well at the world cup, only Spain and Chile were genuinely proactive and attacking. Brazil, Germany, Uruguay, Holland were not.

    2. that was why Dunga’s approach worked well. by playing reactive football, he invited pressure, opening up possibilities on the counter attack. obviously, once ahead, they rarely surrendered the lead. as it is, any top team entering an international tournament without practicing PKs extensively, is setting itself up for heartbreak.

    3. Brazil are actually a team in transition. Menezes has been on the job less than a year, and brought many new players. what he might need is more time. it’s not like he’ll get too much of it, because no national team has the time to gel together the way club sides can. Spain have avoided that, because 7 of it’s starting XI is Barca. they are like a club already.

    these are just a few of the issues.


  4. Posted by Commentator on July 24, 2011 at 10:26 am

    @Macebong… Nice points raised. But it still doesnt mean there’s no lack of talent in this Brazilian team. The guys in the spanish team.. those are a bunch of talents.. being in the same club just made them stronger.. Xavi, Casillas, Fabregas, Torres.. Four different clubs, but talents all the same.
    They’re in transition, granted, but they dont have too many quality players (that we’re used to when we’re talking about Brazil) to make the transition smooth..
    Thats what i feel..


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