Bafana’s new coach says they have an obligation to succeed
CARLOS Alberto Parreira yesterday promised South African fans that he and Bafana Bafana had an obligation to get through the group stages of the World Cup.
The Brazilian, who was named South Africa’s head coach after a five-hour meeting of the Safa national executive committee on Friday, has already divided the country’s over his appointment.
Many believe the Brazilian did not prove himself during his first stint with Bafana before famously walking out early last year. The feeling is the post should have gone to someone local, such as Clive Barker, Gavin Hunt or Jomo Sono – all three were recently appointed as the team’s assessors.
A Safa NEC member who attended Friday’s decisive meeting said yesterday Parreira’s rehiring was not plainsailing, as debate raged on because certain members favoured a local coach.
“Some ( NEC members) needed a lot of convincing on why we shouldn’t go with a local coach. We debated the matter until we agreed it would be dangerous to start the process afresh when we’re just eight months away from the World Cup. Parreira has been to many World Cups but he started this Bafana team. He’s got no stage fright, so we decided he was the most suitable candidate,” the NEC informer said.
Parreira, who agreed to take the job on a reduced salary of about R1.5-million a month, arrives in the country on November 5 and should take charge of the team when they take on Japan on November 14, at Orlando Stadium. He still holds a South African work permit that expires after the World Cup.
Speaking to Brazilian media yesterday, Parreira said he understood that when a country organised a World Cup the home fans were emotional and irrational. “The best thing is to get as close to the final as possible but our obligation is to reach the second phase. Then, the sky’s the limit, they are knockout matches, anything can happen.”
He will have the squad for a month in January when the local league shuts down to allow for a training camp. Further camps are planned for Brazil and Germany in the build-up to the month-long finals.
His contract runs until after the 2010 finals, after which a local coach will be appointed to the job, according to Safa president Kirsten Nematandani.
The 66-year-old Parreira was first approached in 2006 to build a competitive side for South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 World Cup finals, but quit after 21 matches in charge in April 2008 when his wife fell ill with cancer.
He returned to Rio de Janeiro to tend to her, recommending Santana in his place.
But Santana had little of the charisma of his compatriot and after 17 months was sacked this week after South Africa lost eight of their last nine matches and looked a listless team some eight months before the start of the World Cup.
Parreira, however, promised he would complete the job favourably.
“It was a job we started three years ago,” said Parreira. “Unfortunately, for family reasons, I had to interrupt it but now they (South Africa) have resumed that project.
“I was only able to accept, and only accepted, because I’m not going to start the job from zero,” he told Brazilian TV.
“There’s very little time left for the World Cup but the job had already begun, I already know the players, the style, the work... Without doubt that will help with this resumption.”
Parreira was a World Cup winner with Brazil in 1994 and also in charge of his country’s campaign at the last finals in 2006. He was also in charge of Kuwait in 1982, the United Arab Emirates in 1990 and Saudi Arabia in 1998.
His rehiring ended a dramatic week in South African football which saw several local coaches campaigning openly for the job. Reports that Sono would be appointed as Parreira’s technical director have been dismissed as baseless. “Sono will remain as one of the assessors – that’s it,” a Safa insider said.