Nomad Parreira hopes to make South Africa proud

Johannesburg: South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira can proudly boast of being the most experienced World Cup campaigner ever.

Parreira, who will be making his sixth visit to the World Cup as a coach, started four decades ago as a 27-year-old when he was the physical trainer for his native Brazil at the 1970 finals in Mexico.

He went on to win the World Cup with Brazil in 1994 and reach the quarter-finals with the side in Germany four years ago.

He was at the helm of Kuwait in 1982 and was coach of the United Arab Emirates in 1990, and of Saudi Arabia, who fired him after two matches of the 1998 tournament.

South Africa is the fifth country he has led to the finals, which means he equals the record held by Serbian Bora Milutinovic.

Parreira, now 67, has said that South Africa is the last job in a nomadic career that began in Africa 42 years ago. His first job, in 1968, was in Ghana where he was sent to teach Brazilian football philosophy and quickly found himself acting as coach to the country`s national team and top club in leading African competitions.

He has since worked across the Middle East, Spain, Turkey, the United States and at top Brazilian clubs such as Flamengo, Fluminense and Corinthians.

Parreira was first signed by South Africa in 2006 but quit after 18 months when his wife fell ill. He returned last November after the man he had recommended to succeed him, Joel Santana, was fired following a run of poor results.

The chance to coach the home team at another World Cup was ample motivation to return, said Parreira, who has taken his team on training camps in Brazil and Germany this year.

"Every time I walk the street, or I go to the shops, or even out for dinner, people are saying to me: `Coach make us proud`. This is very strong for me; this is very meaningful," he said in a recent interview with Reuters.

Bureau Report