Parreira returns to a sceptical South Africa

2009-11-05 10:42

VETERAN coach Carlos Alberto Parreira of Brazil returned to South

Africa this morning to resume coaching the beleaguered national football team,

Bafana Bafana.

Parreira’s arrival at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport

was markedly devoid of the fanfare that surrounded his first arrival as coach to

the World Cup host nation in September 2006. At the time, “King Carlos”, as he

was dubbed, was given the red-carpet treatment.

The 66-year-old former Brazil national coach has been a

controversial choice to lead Bafana into the World Cup in seven month’s

time.

Many South Africans bear him a grudge for abruptly quitting the job

in April last year for family reasons and leaving the team in the hands of his

hapless compatriot, Joel Natalino Santana.

Under Santana, the national team’s fortunes plummeted. He finally

agreed to quit last month after Bafana notched up seven defeats in eight

friendlies, against mostly mediocre teams.

Bafana’s dismal performances over the past few years had caused

dismay in South Africa as it prepares to stage the World Cup for the first time

in Africa.

Parreira said he aims to take Bafana to at least the second

round.

He was due to announce his line-up for friendlies against Japan on

November 14 and Jamaica on November 17 later tomorrow.

In an interview in Brazil before his return, Parreira confirmed

that he is willing to call up veteran striker Benni McCarthy, who was excluded

from the South Africa team after clashing with Santana.

“I think (McCarthy) is the best striker. If he is willing to play,

to sacrifice and to commit to the national team, I think he deserves a chance,”

Parreira said of the Blackburn Rovers marksman.


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