Quarter-final spot is achievable for South Africa: Parreira

November 6th, 2009 - 9:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Johannesburg, Nov 6 (DPA) The coach of dispirited World Cup hosts South Africa said Friday he believed Bafana Bafana could clinch a spot in the quarter-finals.
Carlos Alberto Parreira was speaking a day after he arrived back in South Africa on his second stint as national football coach.

“I would not have accepted this position if I did not think Bafana had the ability to get past the knockout stages,” Parreira told a press conference, adding: “A quarter-final place is achievable.”

South Africans have reacted coolly to his return to the job he quit in April 2008.

Many football fans resent him for leaving the team in the hands of his hapless compatriot, Joel Santana, when he returned to Brazil to be with his ailing wife.

Under Santana, who was given the door last month following a string of defeats, the team slipped from 76th to 85th worldwide.

Parreira, who took Brazil to World Cup glory in 1994 and whose wife has since recovered, has just seven months to try to turn around the team for the 2010 World Cup.

“I believe I will get the squad ready in time,” he said.

Many football commentators have speculated Parreira was lured back to South Africa by a generous pay cheque of 1.6 million rand a month (141,000 dollars).

“I am not here for the money. I am here because of the honour and privilege of leading the host nation to the World Cup,” he said.

“It was going to take something special for me to leave Rio (de Janeiro) and this is it.”

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