Bafana in search of new boss

2008-04-21 00:00

BAFANA Bafana’s immediate future may be clouded by uncertainty, but outgoing coach Carlos Alberto Parreira believes that with the groundwork that has been laid, the team still have the ability to make an impact at the 2010 World Cup.

Parreira, who announced his resignation — due to the ill health of his wife — at Safa House in Johannesburg yesterday, said a foundation has been laid in his 15 months in charge that his successor can build on.

“I don’t see a crisis. It is not because I am leaving that I am saying the work has been done. It has not.

“The work will be done until the World Cup. In Brazil it has been like this, and the Germans have prepared a week before the World Cup.

“The first time I watched Bafana play was as a visitor against Congo before I had signed a contract. Then I watched the [Afcon qualifying] game against Zambia in [October 2006]. From that time until now, which has been a long way, we have seen the leap, the style and the way so many things have come together.

“In the first two years, the job has been to lay a foundation and I think we have gone a long way. I am not saying the work is easier now, but the most difficult part has been done.

“It is just to keep the same philosophy and don’t destroy what has been good so far. And if we do that I am sure the team has the capacity to do well in the World Cup.”

In the wake of the departure of Parreira, who will remain as a technical advisor to his successor in the transition period, the spotlight falls on the quiet man of the Bafana technical team, assistant Jairo Leal.

Leal and second assistant Pitso Mosimane will take charge of Bafana if no successor has been appointed by the time the team plays four crucial African Nations Cup qualifiers against Nigeria (away), Equatorial Guinea (home) and Sierra Leone (home and away) in May and June.

“Jairo does the invisible work, but he does it at the top level,” Parreira said. “He is the best ever assistant I have worked with in the World Cup, in the Brazilian national team for 12 years, and in many national teams.

“By keeping him, I am so happy that the vision will be carried on in the way it has been. It was very positive that he accepted to continue.”

Despite this praise, Leal will not be appointed as a full-time replacement.

“He was very successful when he took over Corinthians when I left to coach Brazil. But he prefers to stay an assistant. I think, in that position, he is one of the best in the world.”

Parreira has been asked to help identify his successor as head coach.

“We are not in a stand-still position so it will not take long to announce the new coach. We are moving and we are moving in a very positive way. We have contacted people already.”

Fellow Brazilians Flamengo coach Joel Santana and Internacional boss Aba Braga have been linked to the job in the press.

Parreira said his role as a transitional technical advisor will involve “just being together with the people who are working. That is why you have to have people who are in your confidence.

“Of course these people must have the freedom to work in their way. Someone who has been around, who knows the team and who can just give some tips will be necessary.”

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