santana: coach heads home for 3-week break

2009-07-14 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Bafana Bafana’s Brazilian coaches have demonstrated a hankering for going home on holiday — but this time no one was complaining when Joel Santana recently returned to Rio de Janeiro for a three-week break.

Bafana’s creditable performance while extending soccer giants Brazil and Spain during the recent Confederations Cup has released the pressure on the amiable Santana with the effect of an electric kettle cooling down after reaching boiling point.

However, his predecessor with Bafana, Carlos Alberto Parreira, was fired by Brazilian club Fluminense on Monday after the Rio de Janeiro club lost 1-0 to minnows Santo Andre and slipped into the relegation zone.

Seemingly far-fetched reports recently linked Parreira, who helped guide Brazil to the World Cup title in 1994, to a return with Bafana. But the reports were proclaimed as “totally unfounded” by both Safa CEO Raymond Hack and Parreira himself . And Hack on Monday said Parreira’s dismissal at this juncture was nothing more than a coincidence.

“We have not contacted Parreira following his resignation as Bafana coach,” said the Safa CEO, “and we don’t intend to do so now.”

The seasoned Parreira said he has yet to decide whether he will continue his long-serving coaching career “But if I do,” he said, “it will be in Rio where I will be close to my family.”

“Coaching in Brazil is fraught with danger,” said Parreira, “You only play and pray for the right results. Unfortunately they have not materialised with Fluminense.”

Santana, meanwhile, faces a hectic period when he returns to South Africa at the end of the month.

Bafana are due to play the talented Serbian combination at Loftus Stadium on August 12, with away fixtures against Germany and the Republic of Ireland in September — completing a three-game programme within a month as preparation for next year’s World Cup continues. — Sapa.


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