Parreira open to a return to SA

2009-10-21 00:00

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Parreira is “willing to evaluate” a return to South Africa to lead the host team in the 2010 World Cup.

“There is a possibility that there may be an invitation, and I would be willing to evaluate it, if it becomes concrete,” Parreira told the Brazilian television channel GloboNews in an interview on Monday.

Parreira’s admission comes in the wake of the agreement between the SA Football Asscociation and Joel Santana for Santana to stand down as Bafana Bafana coach following a string of poor results. Reports yesterday were that Santana received a R4,2 million payout package as part of his exit deal.

In the interim, assistants Jairo Leal and Pitso Mosimane will act as caretaker-coaches.

Parreira stepped down as South Africa’s coach last year for personal reasons due to the ill health of his wife, who had cancer, and suggested Santana as a replacement.

Parreira stressed that Safa have not contacted him yet, but he made it clear that he would be glad to take part in his eighth World Cup, this time with Bafana.

The man who led Brazil to the World Cup trophy in 1994 and to a resounding failure in 2006 thinks Leal’s stay with the South African team indicates that Safa would like to remain with “the Brazilian school” of coaches.

He said he was sorry about Santana’s exit, following a string of eight defeats from nine games.

“It was not quite a surprise, because Joel had been under very great pressure. Eight defeats in nine matches are really a lot, but you have to take into account that South Africa lost to teams like Brazil, Germany, Spain, Serbia — these are perfectly acceptable results,” he said.

“There is probably another reason (for Santana’s exit), which we do not yet know.”

Parreira said he had spoken Monday to Santana, who was “surprised but calm.”

The veteran Parreira stressed that his own exit from the Bafana coaching job was not due to professional reasons or criticism about his high pay.

“When I accepted the invitation of the South African federation (in 2006), I did not do it for the pay but for the wish to lead the host country in a World Cup,” he said. “I was planning to stay for four years, but I had to leave the job for family reasons.”

For Parreira, the main challenge for South Africa’s incoming coach will be to recover players’ confidence in the wake of recent poor results.

“The coach that comes in will have to break the barrier of low self-esteem among players after eight defeats. To do that, he will have to bring back and emphasise the importance of the work that was done for the Confederations Cup (in June), in which they had the support of the whole country,” he said.

Parreira noted that before his own arrival in 2006, South Africa had not been playing other national teams for preparation, which limited their opportunities to be challenged and improve.

“I fought to have them play strong teams. Now, when the World Cup comes, we will already have played the best in the world,” he said.

However, the coach admitted that the remaining time before the start of the World Cup in June is not enough to solve the team’s main problem.

“The greatest difficulty for South African football is the lack of goal– scorers,” he said.

“And you cannot find a goalscorer in a few months.”

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