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Carlos Alberto Parreira calls it quits

by Michael Appel
on 21 Apr 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

The man South Africa hoped would give our national soccer team, Bafana Bafana, a fighting chance in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Carlos Alberto Parreira has resigned.


Just 15 months into his four year contract worth an estimated R100 million, the Brazilian is heading home to be with his wife, Leila, who has cancer and recently underwent surgery.

Speaking from South African Football Association (SAFA) House on Monday, the coach explained the reasons for his resignation.

"I regret my decision very much, but my wife needs me near her, it is heartbreaking not to have this job till the end.

"I have been in seven world cups before and I wanted this to be my eighth. We have worked hard but there were some problems and it was difficult to keep a good balance between work and my personal life," said Mr Parreira.

The outgoing Bafana Bafana coach highlighted that he has been involved in soccer since 1967, and of those 40 years, he has spent 19 years abroad.

SAFA Chief Executive Officer Raymond Hack said Mr Parreira has relinquished his position as senior coach of the national team for personal reasons and his official duties will run up until 2 May.

SAFA President Molefi Olifant told reporters that Mr Parreira has agreed to serve Bafana Bafana as a technical adviser and he will also assist SAFA and South Africa to search for a coach that will take his vision and philosophy forward.

Mr Olifant said SAFA has also approached Bafana Bafana's assistant coach, Jairo Leal to remain behind to continue Mr Parreira's coaching philosophy.

Mr Hack indicated that the outgoing coach will make sure there is a smooth transition until a new coach arrives.

The coach, who led Brazil to a world cup title win in 1994, signed a historic R1.8 million a month four-year contract with SAFA in 2007.

It has not always been smooth sailing for the Brazilian and was criticised from all corners of South Africa for his coaching style and his sides uninspiring performances on the international stage.

In March 2008, Mr Parreira bumped heads with Minister of Sport and Recreation Makhenkesi Stofile, who publicly expressed concerns about the national side's performance in the run-up to the world cup.

The national side's first round exit from the 2008 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Ghana in February only further fuelled cynics.

The Afcon competition was largely seen as a test of the squad's strength for the world cup.

Just two months later, however, Mr Parreira silenced all critics when his side thrashed 24th internationally ranked Paraguay 3-0 in a friendly on 26 March 2008 in Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria.

Bafana Bafana, who won the African Nations Championship in 1996 are ranked a dismal 14th on the continent and 71st internationally.

Mr Parreira's exit from South Africa's roadmap for the world cup has thrown SAFA a curve ball as the hunt for a new coach has to begin almost immediately with less than 780 days before the event.

South Africa is set to face-off against Nigeria on 30 May 2008 in Afcon qualifying matches and against Equatorial Guinea a month later. - BuaNews


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