Famous Last Words: I Will Not Be Fired
The writing has been on the wall for sometime now, and South African national football coach Joel Santana made it official yesterday. Despite his strongly stated “I will not quit” and his “Losing friendly matches does not worry us”, the Brazilian ‘resigned’ from the position yesterday, and will head back to rejoin people who can understand him with immediate effect.
After about a year and a half in charge, Santana managed to get Bafana Bafana’s FIFA ranking down to a lowly 85th place in the world, 12 places in the last month alone! He lost 8 out of the last 9 matches that he was in charge.
“I do not know of any national coach in the world who was fired because he lost friendly matches. I do not think I will be fired,” Santana said when the team returned from their last match against lowly Iceland – which was one of those loses.
Santana’s overall record in charge does not seem overly bad – he had a total of 27 matches in charge, 14 of which were lost. There were 10 wins and three draws. None of the wins were against any major opposition though. He was also the teams’ 15th coach in as many years. But for the money spent on employing him, we would have hoped there would have been more wins than loses.
In a subtle bit of irony, the man slated to probably replace Santana, and take the team to the World Cup next year, is another Brazilian, who Santana replaced. Yes, ex-Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira may well be back at the helm. He resigned in order to return home to be with his ill wife, and recommended that “his friend” Santana take over form him.
At least we (and more importantly, the players!) can understand him. SAFA will make a formal announcement on Friday of this week.