The South African Football Association has announced that it will part ways with Carlos Alberto Parreira. Parreira has been coach of South Africa since September 2006, but is now returning to his native Brazil to spend more time with his family.
The SAFA Executive had an emergency meeting today to discuss the departure. At the meeting they decided that Parreira will have a consultative role with Bafana Bafana, as the country's technical advisor. The hope is that this will ensure continuity in the playing philosophy of the team.
At the press conference, Parreira said that he wants to make the transition as smooth as possible and will help choose his successor. Jairo Leal and Pitso Mosimane will remain as assistant coaches and, if a new coach is not in place by the time South Africa face Nigeria on 31 May, they will lead the side for this game.
Parreira has been at the reins since September 2006 and was hired specifically to build a successful team for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ as the team automatically qualifies for the competition as the Host Country. Bafana Bafana will also be participating in the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009 with Italy, Egypt, Iraq, USA, Brazil and the champions of both the Europe and Oceania regions, who will be determined later this year.
"To coach in an eighth World Cup is my dream," said Parreira. "There are very few coaches in the world who have done this.
I regret very much that I had to come to this decision
"It is heartbreaking that I cannot see this to the end. The vision is there, the philosophy is there, and we need to make sure that it remains. I can give tips and advice because I started with the renovation of the team."
Although South Africa were eliminated at the group stage of the recent CAF Africa Cup of Nations Ghana 2008, Parreira has received extensive plaudits in recent weeks for the side's progress, most notably for his nurturing of young talents such as Siphiwe Tshabalala, Tshepo Masilela and Excellent Walaza.
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter was quick to pass on his best wishes to Parreira. "FIFA has been made aware of Carlos Alberto Parreira's decision to resign as coach of Bafana Bafana due to the ill-health of his wife. We would like to wish his wife a speedy recovery and hope that his presence will be of comfort and support on her road to recovery," he said.
"SAFA now has the responsibility, with the help of Parreira, to find a new coach to ensure the continuation of the preparations of the South African national team for the FIFA Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup. The recent performance of Bafana Bafana shows that the team is moving in the right direction and we hope that this will be a positive movement towards 2010. We look forward to a wonderful time in South Africa and watching a successful team."
Parreira was relatively successful with the national team and won nine, drew six and lost six of his 21 matches in charge. Bafana Bafana also won the COSAFA Cup with him and beat Paraguay 3-0 in his most recent match. "It is not easy to make this choice and thank you for what you have done for our country," Irvin Khoza, chairman of the LOC for South Africa 2010, told the USA 1994-winning coach.
It is reported that fellow Brazilians Joel Santana and Luiz Felipe Scolari, as well as South Africans Leal and Mosimane, are in the frame to succeed Parreira.