Parreira’s return condemned by South African media

October 26, 2009

Carlos Alberto Parreira’s return as South Africa coach has been widely pilloried in the country’s media, a stark contrast to the almost universal approval he received when he took the job the first time round in late 2006.

Parreira has been enticed back in the wake of the firing of compatriot Joel Santana last week, as the World Cup hosts battle to drag their national side out of a spiral of long-term mediocrity.

Parreira was supposed to be the architect of a plan to build a competitive South African side to set the 2010 tournament alight.

But when his wife fell ill, he had little option to quit and return home to Rio de Janeiro.

Failure to properly explain the reasons for his departure, combined with a simmering discontent over the amount of money he was being paid, obviously touched a sensitive nerve, because his return has been widely condemned.

Columnists across the South African media have raged against his re-appointment and, more to the point, the failure of the South African Football Association to appoint a locally-born coach in the wake of Santana’s departure.

Just why a local would supercede the decades of World Cup experience Parreira has amassed has not been sufficiently explained.

Parreira will likely be surprised by the tone of the ‘welcome’ he will get when he arrives in Johannesburg soon to resume the job. He seemed to have the team on an upward curve during his first tenure but after his departure they have headed steadily downwards, even if there were some bright spots during June’s Confederations Cup.

The South African soccer scene is fickle, which could work in Parreira’s favour. Should he be able to engineer victories in the next two warm-up games, at home to Japan and Jamaica in mid-November, he could well be back on an African honeymoon.

PHOTO: Parreira, REUTERS/Masimba Sasa

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