Parreira resigned weeks ago

By Karyn Maughan and Jonty Mark

Football bosses kept Bafana coach Carlos Alberto Parreira's decision to quit under wraps for weeks - despite on Monday insisting that the resignation was "not a crisis".

And the South African Football Association is adamant that it will not reveal when it actually intended to tell South Africa about Parreira's departure, now scheduled for less than a fortnight's time.

Last week, Safa CEO Raymond Hack vehemently denied knowledge of Parreira's resignation.

"This is all news to me," Hack told the media.

But Safa president Molefi Oliphant yesterday revealed that the Brazilian had made his intentions to leave clear to Hack on April 4 and had confirmed his position to Oliphant himself three days later.

Parreira made it clear that his last day as South Africa's coach would be on May 2.

It was, however, up to Parreira's ailing wife Leila to tell South Africa about the situation, forcing Safa to formally announce the coach's resignation yesterday afternoon.

At the media conference, Parreira explained his decision, saying he had spent 19 years outside Brazil. During this time, he was able to keep a balance between work and home.

"And now, because of so many reasons, I could not keep this, my focus - My family need me, especially my wife needs me near her, together with her. After 36 years of marriage, I cannot say no."

The Star has established that Bafana's players themselves learnt of their coach's resignation through the media and, in the case of several overseas players, SMS contact from friends.

Bafana captain Aaron Mokoena said he was aware of the resignation only because Parreira had personally phoned him.

Oliphant insisted that the secrecy had been necessary.

"We had to manage this from the 4th of April so that by the time we came to announce (Parreira's resignation), everything was in place. You will agree with me, in all negotiations, there must be a period of discussion," he said.

As reported in the Saturday Star, Safa confirmed that Parreira is returning to Brazil to attend to his sick wife, who reportedly has cancer. The Brazilian has, however, agreed to stay on for a short period.

He will help Safa find a new coach and intends to assist Bafana as a technical adviser.

"I would like to stress it (resigning) has been a very difficult decision for me to take," Parreira said in his resignation letter to Safa.

"But after careful consideration, I feel that at this stage of my life I would like to dedicate more time to my family, and this has proved very difficult with me living in South Africa and my family in Brazil.

"This has affected the balance that I have tried to maintain between my family and personal life and my professional life."

Supporting Oliphant that his resignation was not a crisis for South African football, Parreira stressed that he had already completed the most difficult part of his plan to prepare Bafana for the 2010 World Cup - identifying and grooming young talent.

"I don't see it as a crisis, believe me," said Parreira. "The vision is there, the philosophy is there and we are going to help and to make sure that vision and philosophy will be continued."

Hack meanwhile promised that Safa would find a replacement for Parreira in "two to three weeks". Bafana play an African Nations Cup qualifier against Nigeria in Abuja on May 31.

Oliphant added that if no replacement was found before this game, assistant coaches Jairo Leal - who Parreira described as "the best number two coach I have ever worked with" - and Pitso Mosimane would take the helm.

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