Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .
NO COACH has taken part in more Fifa World Cup finals than Carlos Alberto Parreira. Now 67, the Bafana Bafana boss has just chalked up his sixth finals appearance at South Africa 2010 and remains as enthusiastic about the competition as he has always been.
The veteran Brazilian coach spoke to Fifa.com about his tenure with South Africa, the legacy he hopes to leave behind and the satisfaction he derives from seeing technically gifted players in action.
FIFA.com: What is your view of the World Cup so far?
Carlos Alberto Parreira: Life's a funny thing, you know. I wasn't the only one who thought we'd never see another World Cup like Germany 2006 again.
The Germans are perfectionists when it comes to technology, organisation, structure and professionalism and the feeling was that the event was so perfect we'd never see another one like it.
Now we've got the World Cup here in Africa, and to everyone's surprise the stadiums, training grounds, hotels and even the weather have been great. Everything has come together and it's been a fantastic tournament so far.
And what about the football you have seen?
The technical standard has been high and that's because we've put an emphasis on quality and technique. Unlike athletics, swimming and other sports, football is a game where skill and technique are especially important. Strength and speed are necessary too but they're not fundamental. Players need to be able to master technical aspects. South American teams are dominating, and they're doing so with their technique and quality, which is what people want to see.
Ghana are the only African side left in the competition. What are their chances of winning the title?
Ghana did well at the last World Cup. They beat Czech Republic, who were one of the favourites, in a fantastic match and then they lost 3-0 to Brazil. But that was a really tough game. They're an experienced and well-organised side now, with a coach who knows them well, and they've also brought in some of the U-20 World Cup-winning team. I think they've got what it takes to produce some more big performances.
A lot of people have been saying that the spirit in the Brazil camp is the same as it was in 1994. Would you agree?
I've got a few friends in A Seleção and they're all telling me that the atmosphere is really good, and that's essential. If it was just a question of quality, then we wouldn't have gone 24 years without reaching a final. The mood in the squad looks good.
How did you find the experience of coaching the host nation?
It was very different to the others, which is one of the things that attracted me to the job in the first place. People were critical of my salary but it's not that high when you compare it to the best-paid jobs in football. I (didn't) come for the money. I'm a man of independent means and I saw coaching the host nation as a challenge.
I had to go back to Brazil after 18 months for personal reasons. Then Joel (Santana) came in and I thought there'd be no way back for me. They had a good Confederations Cup and everything looked fine until they started having problems in the friendlies. There were a few things that a national coach always finds hard to deal with and they lost nine games in a row. That's when they invited me back. I haven't regretted it. You can see how football brings the country together and I've had a warm welcome. I think I've worked hard and that's how the whole "Make Us Proud" thing started. That's what people were saying to me in the street, so I started using it in interviews and the thing built up from there.
How would you assess South Africa's performance?
We know the football's not strong enough here for us to become world champions and we don't have enough players in the top leagues. That said, the team put on a good show and the people are very happy with them. We gave a good account of ourselves. We started well against Mexico, we finished strongly against France and the Uruguay game was a tough one. Overall, it was a positive experience. We've laid foundations for the future and in the 15 games since I returned we've lost just that one match to Uruguay. It would have been perfect to go through, but we did well and I hope it helps lift the standard of the game.
What is your message for the game here? What is the next step?
The PSL is very strong and there's money there, but it doesn't help that there are no youth leagues. You can't make progress without them. Brazil has a talent factory that runs 24 hours a day and that's our greatest strength. I've also said that it might be a good idea to reduce the number of foreign players at clubs. - Fifa.com