SAO PAULO - Flamengo announced yesterday they had hired Caio Jr as coach to replace Joel Santana, who will take over as manager of the South African national team.
The announcement came two days after Santana led Flamengo to a 3-1 victory over rival Botafogo for the Rio de Janeiro state championship.
It was Flamengo's 30th state title, tying Fluminense for most in history.
Santana, who will replace former Brazil manager Carlos Alberto Parreira in South Africa, will command Flamengo one last time - against Mexico's America today in the second leg of their second-round encounter in the Copa Libertadores. Flamengo won the first leg 4-2 in Mexico.
Caio Jr was coaching Goias, which were upset by minnows Itumbiara in the Goias state final on Sunday.
"It's an enormous challenge to coach Flamengo," he said. "But I have confidence in my work. With time, I'm sure I will gain the respect of the players and of the fans."
Flamengo, five-time national champions, are Brazil's most popular club. He became one of the most wanted coaches in Brazil after leading Parana to fifth place in the 2006 Brazilian league, securing the club a spot in the Copa Libertadores for the first time in their 17-year history.
He then moved to Palmeiras, but was replaced at the end of the 2007 season after failing to repeat the feat. He was replaced in Palmeiras by former Real Madrid coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo. - Sapa-AP