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22 Oct 2009 12:40
Former colleagues Carlos Alberto Parreira and Pitso Mosimane are ready to accept the challenge of transforming struggling 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa into a formidable force.
The national football association is scheduled to reveal on Friday who will succeed Brazilian coach Joel Santana, fired this week after a run of eight losses from nine outings.
Santana last year replaced compatriot Parreira, who left Bafana Bafana after 16 months in charge to return home and aid his ill wife, who has made a full recovery.
Parreira and Santana had the same assistants, Brazilian Jairo Leal and former South Africa striker and SuperSport United coach Mosimane, while in charge of a team that has slumped to a 16-year low of 85 in the world ratings.
“It is possible for me to work in South Africa again,” Parreira told the Brazilian media soon after being fired by Rio de Janeiro-based Fluminense following a string of poor results.
“There is immense pressure on the national team as World Cup hosts and I know the people of that country respect me. I believe they want to retain a Brazilian system of play.”
Mosimane told local journalists that South African Football Association (SAFA) officials indicated he was being groomed to take over Bafana after the 32-nation world championship next June and July.
“That has been my ambition all along, but if taking over immediately would help my country then I am available for the challenge,” stressed the former Greece-based professional.
“On the other hand, if the national association appoint Carlos or someone else I will remain totally dedicated in my role of assistant coach and give 100% support.”
Spain (twice), Brazil, Serbia, Germany, Republic of Ireland, Norway and Iceland inflicted defeats on Bafana in a five-month spell from hell that cost 60-year-old Santana his post.
His sole success since June came at home to African minnows Madagascar, the sort of opposition that brought the South American many of his 10 victories in 27 matches since taking charge in mid-2008.
The run of losses plunged South African football into an advance state of depression with politicians, officials, coaches and players debating cures for the national-team ills.
Many fear that unless desperate measures are taken, the first African country to stage the World Cup will also become the first host nation to be eliminated after the first round.
Gavin Hunt, a South African who has coached SuperSport to two league titles in a row and been linked with the national post, labelled Santana “a disgrace” after the 1-0 loss at football lightweights Iceland last week.
Bafana have friendly fixtures scheduled against fellow World Cup qualifiers Japan in Johannesburg on November 14 and against Jamaica in Bloemfontein three days later.—AFP
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