/ 23 October 2009

Parreira set for return as SA coach

Carlos Alberto Parreira looks set to resume the job he started three years ago as coach of 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa.

A South African Football Association (Safa) envoy was in Rio de Janeiro this week and made him an official offer to succeed sacked compatriot Joel Santana, Parreira said on Thursday.

Brazil’s 1994 World Cup-winning coach, who quit the South Africa job in April 2008 when his wife fell ill, said both sides were keen to seal his return by the end of the week.

He did not want to say whether he had accepted but made it clear in an interview with Reuters that his return was ”on track”.

”Some things still have to be approved, it’s a decision that has to be made by the government,” Parreira said.

”There’s a proposal on the table that hasn’t been signed but there is mutual interest. They have an urgent need because it’s about the national team of the country that will host the World Cup … There has to be a solution by the end of the week.”

Safa sacked Santana on Monday, less than eight months after he took charge on Parreira’s recommendation, following a run of eight defeats.

The 66-year-old Parreira, who has been out of work since being fired by Brazilian first division strugglers Fluminense in July, said he believed their were no other candidates for the South African job.

He said he has been in regular contact with the Bafana Bafana’s assistant coach Jairo Leal, who was with Parreira when he started the job in 2006 and stayed on under Santana.

If Parreira takes the job, it will be his sixth World Cup as a coach after two with Brazil in 1994 and 2006, Kuwait in 1982, the United Arab Emirates in 1990 and Saudi Arabia in 1998.

He said his objective would be to reach at least the second round.

”From the second round on it’s a lottery. It will depend on the group which comes out of the draw. The hosts have greater expectations, their fans are emotional and rather irrational.” – Reuters