big-Buck coach dumps bafana

There can now be no doubt it will be officially announced at today's emergency press conference of Safa that Bafana Bafana's R1,8 million-a-month coach, Carlos Alberto Parreira, has resigned.

There can now be no doubt it will be officially announced at today's emergency press conference of Safa that Bafana Bafana's R1,8 million-a-month coach, Carlos Alberto Parreira, has resigned.

Parreira, who guided Brazil to the World Cup in 1994 and is one of the most respected coaches in the world, was hired 16 months ago to prepare Bafana for the 2010 tournament in South Africa at what was an astronomical and controversial salary package.

And despite a stuttering start to his tenure - with Safa continuing to display its characteristic shortcomings and a segment of the media indulging in inane criticism of his methods - Parreira appeared to have dramatically turned around Bafana in the last month or two.

Parreira's decision will officially be proclaimed to be due to personal reasons and the separation from his family - but allied to this, no doubt, are other factors .

Certainly, it will be the Bafana players Parreira moulded into an effective combination to beat 26th world-ranked Paraguay 3-0 who will be more upset by the turn of events than anyone.

And, as a matter of urgency, a replacement will need to be sought and found almost immediately - particularly as the new coach or coaches face a baptism of fire against African powerhouse Nigeria in an away 2010 Nations Cup qualifying game in five weeks' time.

Parreira, it is believed, has made numerous alternative suggestions to Safa concerning his successor - one of them being that his chief assistant, fellow Brazilian Jairo Leal and his second assistant, Pitso Mosimane, take over on a caretaker basis if not permanently.

A myriad of other Brazilian coaches have also been suggested with the wild speculation also roping in top coaches such as Portugal and former Brazil coach Luis Felipe Scolari, former Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho and Manchester City and former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson.

The Brazilian coaches who have supposedly been recommended by Parreira include Joel Santana, Leal, Emerson Leao, Muricy Ramalho and Renato Gaucho.

Also supposedly in the speculative Bafana melting pot is veteran Brazilian maestro Mario Zagallo, who has the unique record of being associated with a World Cup-winning team on three occasions - as coach, player and technical assistant. But Zagallo is now 77and, at best, might only be considered as a technical director to oversee the work of others.

Whatever the outcome of the coaching lottery, it is likely that the harassed and hard-pressed Safa will first consider an overseas coach with some sort of international reputation before turning to the local market. - Sapa

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