Soccer

Parreira arrives in SA

2009-11-05 11:30
In the country (File)

Johannesburg - Brazil's Carlos Alberto Parreira returned to South Africa on Thursday morning to resume coaching the beleaguered national football team.

His arrival at Johannesburg's OR Tambo airport was markedly devoid of the fanfare that surrounded his first coming as coach to the World Cup host nation in September 2006. At the time, "King Carlos," as he was dubbed, was given the red-carpet treatment.

The 66-year-old former Brazil national coach has been a controversial choice to lead Bafana Bafana into the World Cup in seven month's time.

Many South Africans bear him a grudge for abruptly quitting the job in April last year for family reasons and leaving the team in the hands of his hapless compatriot, Joel Santana.

Under Santana, the team's fortunes plummeted. He finally agreed to quit last month after Bafana notched up seven defeats in eight friendlies, against mostly mediocre teams.

The national squad's dismal performances over the past few years had caused dismay in South Africa as it prepares to stage the World Cup for the first time in Africa.

Parreira said he aims to take Bafana to at least the second round.

He was due to announce his line-up for friendlies against Japan on November 14 and Jamaica on November 17 later on Thursday.

In an interview in Brazil before his return, Parreira confirmed that he is willing to call up veteran striker Benni McCarthy, who was excluded from the South Africa team after clashing with Santana.

"I think (McCarthy) is the best striker. If he is willing to play, to sacrifice and to commit to the national team, I think he deserves a chance," Parreira said of the Blackburn Rovers forward.

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