[BRAZIL] Mano Menezes says he always dreamed of coaching Brazil, but even he was surprised he got the job. He must rebuild the national team after its early exit at the 2010 World Cup and create the foundation for the team that will host the 2014 finals. His first test? A friendly against the USA on Aug. 10 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey.
The top choice of the Brazilian federation (CBF) to replace much-criticized Dunga was Muricy Ramalho of Fluminense.
Ramalho, who led Sao Paulo to three consecutive Campeonato Brasileiro's Serie A titles (2006-08), once said it would be a "joke" to turn down the Brazil job, but Flu management refused to release him.
The move was viewed as a slap in the face to the CBF, already reeling from Brazil's poor 2010 World Cup and problems with its organization of the 2014 World Cup.
Sports daily Lance! described the selection process as an example of "the amateurism and improvisation of the actions of the CBF and its directors with things of real importance to our soccer."
Menezes didn't mind if he wasn't the No. 1 choice.
"We must have 30, 40 or 50 excellent professionals in Brazil," he said, "so if I'm second on the list, that's fine by me."
Menezes was coaching Corinthians, but its president, Andres Sanchez, released Menezes from his contract.
"I am not one to stand in the way of a professional advancing in his career," Sanchez said. "I would never do anything to destroy the dreams of a human being, especially one like Mano, who has helped our team so much."
Mano, 48, is known for his work rebuilding teams, first Gremio and now Corinthians, both hugely popular clubs floundering in the Campeonato Brasileiro's Serie B (second division) when he took over.
Mano led Corinthians to the 2009 Copa Brasil title.
On Monday, he will announce the team that will face the USA.
His major short-term task will be to lead Brazil in its defense of the Copa America next year in Argentina.
Few imagine that Mano will survive four years and coach Brazil when it hosts the 2014 World Cup.
Brazil has never won the World Cup when its coach has served a full four-year cycle. Only Carlos Alberto Parreira, coach of Brazil when it won the 1994 World Cup, had been in charge as long as three years.
All four other championship coaches were in their first or second year at the helm.