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Safa boss targets quarters

By Piers Edwards
BBC Fast Track's man in Johannesburg

South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira in action
South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has been told to take Bafana Bafana to the last eight of the World Cup

South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has been set a target of reaching the quarter-finals at next year's World Cup.

South Africa FA president Kirsten Nematandani wasted little time in outlining his aims to the Brazilian, who took up his post on Thursday.

"We have highlighted our aspirations; that we want him to take us through the group stages, and probably to the quarter-finals," said Nematandani.

Although South Africa have lost eight games in nine, and lie a lowly 85th in the Fifa rankings, Parreira exuded confidence as he addressed the media in Johannesburg on Friday.

"If I thought this team had no chance of making the next round or doing well in the World Cup, why would I come?" he asked.

I am very positive we will deliver what everybody is expecting

Carlos Alberto Parreira

"I believe we can do good work and if we can repeat our Confederations Cup spirit, where we gave Spain and Brazil good games, we can do something.

"I am very positive we will deliver what everybody is expecting: the first target is to reach the second round and after that the sky's the limit."

The 66-year-old is in his second spell as Bafana Bafana coach, having left the post in April 2008 to care for his then cancer-stricken wife.

But after Brazilian Joel Santana was ousted last month, his compatriot returned despite vociferous local backing for a South African to do the job.

Although Parreira has coached at five World Cup finals, winning the 1994 title with his native Brazil, many claim he is only here for the money.

The former Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates boss is earning in excess of US$200,000 per month.

"I'm not here for the money because I've been working for 40 years so could live without it," he explained.

"I'm here because I'm the coach who has the privilege and honour of leading out the host nation at the World Cup finals - and this is priceless."

Having recently turned down two national team jobs, Parreira said the Bafana Bafana post was one of few that could have tempted him to leave his Rio de Janeiro home.

His first task is to rebuild Bafana Bafana's sagging morale in home matches against Japan on 14 November and against Jamaica three days later.

"You only re-establish confidence by getting good results, so these are very important games for us," he said.

The urbane Brazilian has already shaken up the squad by selecting three Under-20 players and controversial striker Benni McCarthy, who had been dropped by Santana.

The latter was greatly vilified by South Africa's media, but Parreira believes his friend left an important legacy for Africa's first World Cup hosts.

"Nine games and eight defeats is a very poor statistic for any coach, but look who we played against," he reasoned.

"We will benefit at the World Cup because our players now have the experience of taking on the likes of Spain, Brazil, Germany and Serbia.

"So whoever we face in the World Cup, we will be confident we can play a good game."

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see also
World Cup watch
19 Aug 09 |  African
Free tickets for SA World Cup
15 Aug 09 |  African
Is South Africa ready for 2010?
11 Jun 09 |  Football
First new 2010 stadium opened
07 Jun 09 |  African
'Stampedes not an issue' for 2010
30 Mar 09 |  African
2010 World Cup's transport legacy
23 Nov 08 |  African
South Africa's 2010 Cup challenge
07 Jul 06 |  Africa
World Cup to kick off SA economy
27 Nov 07 |  Business

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