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South Africa Renew Interest in Ex-MetroStar Coach

While the drama of World Cup qualifying plays out across the globe, the tournament's home team, the Bafana Bafana, has escaped much of the media's attention. But criticism of South Africa's coach, Joel Santana, has been mounting throughout the country, despite South Africa's secure place in the World Cup.

This week, Santana's South Africa squad traveled to Norway and Iceland and lost both games, 1-0. The team's recent form has inflamed more calls for the coach's dismissal. Newly elected South African Football Association president Kirsten Nematandan recently appointed a panel to assess the state of Bafana Bafana and Santana's performance. The panel will apparently wait until after Novemeber's home games against Japan and Jamaica to drop the axe on Santana, but rumors abound about Santana's potential replacement. The key name to surface has been the man who was originally hired for the job, ex-MetroStars coach Carlos Alberto Parreira. Parreira left his post as South Africa's head coach in April, 2008, to care for his ailing wife in Brazil. He recommended Santana as his replacement.

Parreira has an impressive World Cup resume. He has been to five World Cups with four different nations -- Kuwait in 1982, United Arab Emirates in 1990, Saudi Arabia in 1998 and with his native Brazil in 1994 and 2006, leading Brazil to its fourth World Cup title in 1994. South Africa hired Parreira in 2007 as a big-name coach who could handle the pressure piled on the host nation. Parreira's huge salary raised concerns and expectations, but a 3-0 win over Paraguay in March, 2008, signaled South Africa's legitimacy on the world stage. Now, given Santana's precarious position, Parreira could be called on to finish what he started. (Another possibility is that Jomo Sono, a member of the panel, is named the last-minute replacement as he was before the 2002 World Cup.)

Read the whole story at MLSnet.com »

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