The South African Football Association (Safa) held talks with national team coach Carlos Alberto Parreira on Friday amid reports the Brazilian was about to quit and return home.
Safa and 2010 World Cup organising officials said a meeting with Parreira was under way but gave no details of its content.
The talks follow comments in the Brazilian media on Friday by Parreira’s wife that her husband was preparing his exit from South Africa.
”He has taken the decision. He is due to return to Brazil at the start of next month,” Leila Parreira was quoted as telling the online edition of Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo.
Raymond Hack, Safa’s chief executive, said he was surprised by Parreira’s wife’s comments.
”As far as we are concerned, Parreira is our coach and has signed a contract to coach Bafana Bafana until after the 2010 World Cup final,” Hack told the South African Press Association
”However, tomorrow is another day and who knows what will happen?”
Leila Parreira’s remarks come two months after Brazil’s 1994 World Cup-winning coach was granted compassionate leave by Safa to return home because his wife had been admitted to hospital.
Parreira took over as South Africa coach in 2007 with a brief to prepare the team for the World Cup finals on home soil.
The 65-year-old has not had an easy ride in the job, with South Africa bowing out of the African Nations Cup in Ghana at the group stage in January.
However, Parreira said he was pleased with the football his team had played in Ghana and Bafana Bafana went on to record a 3-0 friendly win over Paraguay in Pretoria in March.
In an interview with Reuters during the Nations Cup, Parreira said he found trying to build a South Africa team from scratch more rewarding than coaching Brazil’s star-studded side at the 2006 World Cup, his previous job.
The uncertainty over Parreira’s future was the latest cloud over South Africa’s preparations to host the World Cup.
Sky-high levels of violent crime and worries about cost overruns for construction of stadiums and other infrastructure have raised fears the African nation will be unable to make a success of hosting the 2010 tournament. — Reuters