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Page last updated at Sunday, 23 March 2008, 13:00 GMT

Parreira tells politicians to keep out

South Africa coach, Carlos Alberto Parreira
Parreira wants to get on with the task of revive the Bafana Bafana
South Africa football coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has told politicians to stop interfering with his job.

The country's sports minister proposed that the top 50 players be contracted to the government for two years and only play practice matches against local clubs.

But Parreira told a Sunday newspaper that there was no quick-fix solution for a team currently ranked 71st in the world.

Parreira, who coached his native Brazil to the 1994 World Cup title, also reacted angrily to accusations he was not devoted enough to his new employers who are paying him US$227,000 dollars a month.

"People are looking for short-cuts but there are none in football," he told the Johannesburg-based Sunday Times.

"I don't interfere in politics because I know nothing about it ... It is one thing to talk about a bullfight but another thing to be in the arena facing the bull."

Bafana Bafana (Zulu for the boys, the boys) were the African Nations champions in 1996 but are now ranked only the 14th best side on the continent.

They were eliminated in the first round of the latest Nations Cup in Ghana in February.

Sports Minister, Makhenkesi Stofile has expressed concern that the team will end up embarrassing South Africa in 2010.

Even Fifa bosses have spoken of the need for the team to raise their game.

Butana Khompela, the head of parliament's sports committee is one of those backing the government contract plan.

He says it "should be implemented without delay to save our national soccer team from the quagmire of mediocrity".

Parreira said the side had been in long-term decline and everyone need to pull together to turn round the situation, including the coaches of local sides who have complained about the number of friendlies.

"We have reached rock bottom and need a way to get out of this," he said.

"Where in the world have you heard of a national team coach resting a player to save him for his club?

"I cannot imagine (England coach) Fabio Capello saving Steven Gerrard so that he can be fresh when Rafa Benitez plays him for Liverpool... The national team is the priority."

SEE ALSO
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28 Sep 07 |  African


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