Parreira close to tears as he bids farewell

BLOEMFONTEIN - Carlos Alberto Parreira was close to tears as he bade farewell to South Africa on Tuesday, the World Cup adventure over but his pride intact.

The 67-year-old has coached at six different World Cups but won his first game with a country other than his native Brazil when the hosts beat France 2-1 in their last Group A game.

The result was not enough to clinch a place in the second round but ensured an honourable exit. Parreira choked back the emotion as he reflected on his two stints in charge, the second from last November seeing just one defeat in 15 matches.

"I'm happy I worked for this country and they gave me support. There is a real meaning when the people say they are proud of you. We had nothing before but what we did here was a great achievement," he told a news conference.

"What these boys did for me over the last seven months, I have to thank them very much. I am so happy for this."

Parreira said he believed he had left a foundation for his successor. South African Football Association president Kirsten Nematandani told Reuters on Tuesday that his replacement would be announced before the end of the World Cup finals.

"If I'm proud of anything, it is giving this side an identity. Now they have to look ahead to the (next) African Nations Cup and then the qualifiers for the next World Cup.

"I told them I want to be their guide (at the finals) in Brazil in 2014. I am waiting for them there," he added.

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