Parreira calls the shots

2009-11-07 15:32

BAFANA Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has the South African Football Association (Safa) leadership playing by his rules.

City Press has reliably learnt that all Parreira’s demands have been met as the head honchos do not want to upset the ­Brazilian who has been reappointed to take charge as Bafana mentor.

As a measure to curb overspending Safa had taken a decision to fly economy class, but Parreira has demanded that players use business class flights whenever they travel on commercial lines.

But Safa vice-president Mandla ­Mazibuko denied this, saying Bafana ­usually use chartered flights.

However, he said it was standard procedure for players to fly ­business class for their travels abroad.

Parreira has also demanded a free rein without any political interference from leadership.

A source within Safa told City Press that Safa was at Parreira’s mercy and “whatever he wants he gets”.

“He wanted to be on the same salary as before and that was granted,” said the source.

Parreira is reportedly still earning ­R1.8 million a month, and is also guaranteed the same bonuses as players for ­winning matches.

Fears of political interference in the running of the squad emerged at a press conference on Friday, but Parreira made it abundantly clear that he would not ­tolerate that.

This was in reference to the Benni ­McCarthy issue.

The Blackburn Rovers striker has been in limbo after snubbing former national coach Joel Santana during the African Cup of Nations qualifiers last year.

There had been calls for his return until Parreira stepped in this week.

McCarthy has now been included in the team to play Japan and Jamaica on ­Saturday and next Tuesday respectively.
He has been having running battles with Safa since the 2006 Nations Cup in Egypt when he was accused of masterminding a players’ revolt against bonus structures.

Parreira said on Friday that he preferred working without interference.

“All we need is their support and for them to allow us the technical team to work with,” he emphasised.

But he also had strong words for ­McCarthy, saying he would not allow any player to become a problem.
“The ball is in his court to be in good shape if he wants to play in the World Cup”.

Another player who might come back is defender Nasief Morris, who was sidelined after being dropped from the ­Confederations Cup for disciplinary reasons.

Parreira is optimistic about doing well this time around. He said if he did not believe that Bafana would fail to acquit themselves well in the World Cup, he would not have accepted the job.

“What for, just to expose myself?” he asked.

“The first target is to qualify for the knockout stages of the tournament and from then on the sky is the limit. In knockout stages, anything can happen.”

However, Parreira bemoaned the fact that South ­African players were benchwarmers at their European clubs.

He said this affected the players’ morale as their fitness level was shocking whenever they reported for Bafana camps.

He also defended his disgraced countryman Santana, saying he was a good coach. Parreira said Santana could not be faulted for losing to top countries like Brazil, Spain, Serbia and Germany.

“It was a learning process but I think you needed a little more patience with him. Here and in Brazil people don’t have patience as they want immediate results. Losing eight out of nine games is a poor statistic, but it will benefit us in the World Cup because the players have experience and are not going to be afraid of anyone.”

Although he did not expect a red carpet and roses when he arrived, Parreira said he felt at home when he touched down on Thursday morning.

He said the road ahead would not be easy, adding that he expects Bafana to make the grade against any opposition.

“Our first priority is to instill confidence and build a winning mentality. The next two games are going to be crucial.”

Parreira will return to Brazil next month to run Football Forum workshop to more than 2000 international coaches.

Safa president Kirsten Nematandani said their expectation from Parreira was to reach the quarterfinals of the World Cup. 

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