Teams: SPORTING CP & Portugal NT
Parreira excited by South Africa 2010 challenge
by Mark Gleeson
Reuters in Johannesburg
New South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira said he was excited by the opportunity of taking charge of the country's team for the 2010 World Cup but warned of big challenges ahead.
The Brazilian World Cup winner, who officially takes up his post in January, said South Africa faced a major rebuilding process that required patience and hard work.
"I have a big task to build the national team," Parreira said in an interview during a brief visit to watch the team play in Saturday's African Nations Cup qualifier, which South Africa drew 0-0 with Congo in Johannesburg.
"There is a potential among the players and with the right preparation we have a chance. But patience will be the key word," he cautioned. South Africa failed to qualify for this year's World Cup finals in Germany.
"The big picture for South Africa should be about the cup itself," said the 63-year-old coach, who took Brazil to World Cup success in the United States in 1994.
"It's not only about the football but there is a big responsibility to also represent Africa and to show the world the potential of the continent.
"Germany put on a beautiful face, the way they received visitors to this year's World Cup...and in every aspect of the organisation."
Parreira said South Africa, the first African country to host the World Cup finals, should strive for the same standards.
"There will be traps along the way and ups and downs but we mustn't lose sight of the bigger picture."
Parreira said he had not had enough time to form a proper picture of South Africa's football standards but said the country, which will have automatic entry into the group stages of the 2010 World Cup as hosts, had to dream big.
"Our aim must be to get to the first (knockout) round of the World Cup and then to keep striving to go further and further in the tournament. There has to be a winning mentality."
He said he would try to organise high-profile matches for the team to play next year.
"We must test our strength against the top teams in the world, like Brazil, Germany and England."
Asked about his monthly salary of $250,000, which has been roundly condemned as obscenely high for the coach of an African team, Parreira said: "I don't want to become a problem. I want to come here and help. I'm not here for the money, I'm comfortable enough without the South African offer.
"I'm here for the pleasure of being the coach of the first African country to host the World Cup. This motivates me more than money. I get paid what I deserved to be paid, it's not the highest salary of a coach."
Parreira has signed a four-year contract and will take charge of his first match in March when South Africa play Chad in the Nations Cup qualifiers.
He said he would travel to Zambia next month to again watch the team when they play a second qualifying match, the last under caretaker coach Pitso Mosimane.
"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”