Santana steps down as Bafana coach

2009-10-20 08:01

Joel Santana quit as South Africa coach after failing to

turn around the footballing fortunes of the 2010 World Cup’s host nation.

The South African Football Association (Safa) said its management

committee and Santana had “unanimously agreed” that the Brazilian would leave

the job “with immediate effect.”

An indication of who might take over is expected to emerge at the

association’s executive meeting to be held Friday.

Fans and commentators have criticized the 60-year-old Santana after

South Africa lost to Iceland last week. It was the team’s eighth loss in nine

matches since June.

Santana, who earned a reported US$200,000 a month, was appointed in

April last year to replace fellow Brazilian Carlos Alberto Parreira, who

resigned to be with his ill wife.

The former Flamengo coach was seen as a miracle-worker for his

success with the Brazilian club, however there was concern at the time of his

appointment over his lack of international experience.

Critics say Santana has also been hampered by his lack of fluent


The South Africa team has been in disarray with less than a year to

the World Cup and there have been calls for a local coach to be hired.

South Africans have high expectations of fielding a team worthy of

the country hosting the World Cup finals.

After all, the host nation has reached a World Cup final eight


In the most recent editions, Germany finished third when it hosted

in 2006. South Korea reached the semifinals against all odds when co-hosting

with Japan in 2002, while France won the title at home in 1998.

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