Scolari set to return at 'Cold War' Brazil
SAO PAULO (AFP) –
Luiz Felipe Scolari is poised to return as manager of the Brazilian national team on Thursday, but his appointment has provoked a divided reaction at the home of the 2014 World Cup hosts.
An official announcement on Scolari, who coached Brazil to their fifth World Cup title in Japan in 2002, is expected on Thursday.
“We have to have someone who can face up to the pressure of the post,” said Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) president Jose Maria Marin, who refused to confirm that Scolari was the new coach.
“Will there be a coach for Brazil at the Confederations Cup draw on Saturday?,” asked a journalist.
“I would like you to ask me that question tomorrow, there will be a announcement at 11 o’clock (Brazil time) on Thursday at the headquarters of the CBF in Rio. We will be discussing the new coach and the future of the Brazil team,” replied Marin.
The 64-year-old Scolari is available after recently parting company with Palmeiras.
But the decision to bring him back sparked differing responses from ex-stars including Zico and Carlos Alberto.
Zico, who earlier announced he had resigned as coach of the Iraqi national team blaming a dispute over his contract, said he was pleased, and welcomed the decision to have Carlos Alberto Parreira, Brazil’s winning coach at the 1994 World Cup, as technical director.
“Felipao has won so many titles he has to be respected — and the two of them together have international experience and competence so I can only wish them luck,” said Zico.
Former skipper Carlos Alberto, who lifted the 1970 World Cup after starring in the 4-1 Pele-inspired thrashing of Italy, struck a note of discord, however.
“I don’t know that this is Felipao’s moment. He won in 2002 — but that was 2002! This year he bombed out at Palmeiras (relegated shortly after Scolari quit).”
“There are other coaches who are better equipped for the job right now — such as Titye, Muricy and (former coach) Vanderlei Luxemburgo.”
“But with regard to Parreira, he knows everything,” Carlos Alberto acknowledged.
The CBF sacked Mano Menezes last week after just two years in the job, with the Selecao having lost in the quarter-finals of last year’s Copa America and then going down to Mexico in the Olympic Games final in London.
Five-times world champions Brazil are eager that the new man should use next year’s Confederations Cup to blood new stars ahead of the 2014 World Cup.
In his first stint as Brazil manager, Scolari was forgiven for a pale Confederations Cup showing in 2001 after he led the Selecao to the World Cup win in Japan the following year.
He later coached Portugal and led them to the final of Euro 2004 on home soil before a disastrous spell with Chelsea in 2008.
Despite former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola being linked with the job, Marin has gone on record as saying that a Brazilian ought to be found who knows exactly what the job entails.
Asked about potential choices and having previously said he would wait until January before deciding on his man, Marin said: “I have faith in our Brazilian coaches.
“We won five (world) titles with them. That’s why it would be very difficult to call in a foreigner,” A Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper quoted Marin as saying on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Parreira insisted that everyone should get behind Scolari, telling Brazilian media: “It’s time to put other problems aside and focus on winning the World Cup.”
The “other problems” include in-fighting at the CBF where Marin and former selections chief Andres Sanchez were in open conflict after the latter said the organisation were wrong to sack Menezes.
The Folha de Sao Paulo daily on Wednesday said a “Cold War” had descended on the organisation before Sanchez, angry to have been left out of the loop both on the Menezes’ dismissal and the decision to re-appoint Scolari, quit his post.