South Africa gets a new coach

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South Africa will wait to finalise a contract with their new coach before
officially announcing his appointment, the country’s soccer federation CEO said today.

“We expect everything to be in place with all contractual and legal
obligations sorted out by May 4,” Raymond Hack said in a statement. “The new coach is expected to be in place three weeks before our next match.”

Brazilian Joel Santana is set to be named coach after both he and his club Flamengo confirmed his imminent departure to South Africa. The South African Football Association, however, said they were not yet ready to confirm his appointment. Santana would replace compatriot Carlos Alberto Parreira, who had recommended him for the job.

Parreira quit on Monday to return to Brazil to be with his wife, who is
suffering from cancer.

“We wanted a coach to follow in the existing vision,” Hack said,
referring to the 12 months Parreira had worked on building a competitive team for South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 World Cup finals. Santana, who will become South Africa 15th coach in 16 years of international competition, will take charge of his first match in a World Cup qualifier against Nigeria in Abuja on May 31.

South Africa are competing in the World Cup qualifying campaign despite having already secured a place as hosts. The African preliminaries serve also as qualifiers for the 2010 African Nations Cup finals in Angola.

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