Parreira agrees to return as South Africa coach
JOHANNESBURG (AP) -- Carlos Alberto Parreira was reappointed coach of South Africa 18 months after leaving the job to be with his ill wife.
Parreira agreed on Friday to a second stint to the end of the next year's World Cup in South Africa, but he'll take over a host team in disarray just over eight months before the world's best teams arrive.
After loud calls by hometown media and fans for a local coach after a string of foreigners, South African Football Association president Kirsten Nematandani told a media conference it would have "loved" to have heeded their wishes but was hampered by time constraints.
"It was our wish to have a local person coach the national team, but we have only eight months to go to the World Cup and there is no time for experimenting, so we went for experience," he said.
However, Nematandani said the SAFA executive decided the next national coach after the World Cup will be South African.
Parreira was expected to be with the team for friendlies against Japan on Nov. 14 and Jamaica on Nov. 17, said SAFA spokesman Morio Sanyane.
Parreira replaced Brazilian countryman Joel Santana, who resigned on Monday after eight losses in nine matches since June.
He confirmed the move in an interview on Brazilian television. He said he met on Thursday with Nematandani, who offered him the job.
"This is a new challenge for me," Parreira, 66, said on Globo News television. "This is my eighth World Cup, and going to the World Cup is always special -- even after 41 years in the game.
"Our first challenge is to get out of the group stage. If we do this, the fans will go crazy. If we reach the final 16 it's a knockout and we'd hope to keep advancing."
Parreira coached Brazil to the 1994 World Cup title. He took over South Africa in 2006 but resigned in April last year to care for his wife.
South Africans, embarrassed and disenchanted by the team's woes of late, will hope Parreira can reverse Bafana Bafana's fortunes in time for the World Cup, which starts on June 11.
Sanyone said the team's training program was largely Parreira's design and "it will be easier for him to fit in and continue where he left off."
He said the two assistant coaches, South Africans Pitso Mosimane and Jairo Leal, who was brought in by Parreira, will remain. In addition, a second local assistant will be appointed, Sanyane said.
Parreira's reported monthly salary of more than $250,000 during his first stint caused an outcry in a country battling poverty and unemployment.
Sanyane would not confirm how much Parreira would be earning except to say it would be "less than his initial contract."
Under Santana, South Africa, the 1996 African champion, failed to qualify for the African Cup of Nations for the first time in 14 years.
The team narrowly made it to the semifinals of this year's Confederations Cup but has slumped since then.
During his first tenure, Parreira put together a young and inexperienced South Africa which had a series of poor results and was eliminated in the first round of the African Cup of Nations last year. South Africa was then ranked 71st by FIFA. It has dropped to 85th.
But his tactics of relying on domestic talent boosted by just a handful of foreign-based players like Blackburn's Benni McCarthy seemed to be paying off before he resigned.
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