Coach’s salary sets tongues wagging

Parreira doesn’t take charge of Bafana Bafana until February next year but his salary details and bonuses, along with R590 000 per month for his assistant, were revealed by South African Football Association (SAFA) officials in the country’s parliament this week. For ordinary South Africans, the Brazilian coach’s astronomical salary has sparked concern and discontent as their country is now the highest paying football association both in the region and in Africa at large.

Malawi’s under-fire Germany coach Burkhardt Ziese believes local coaches are not under a lot of pressure as compared to expatriate coaches.

“I lost only one match with Ghana and got fired despite all the rebuilding I had done. There is a lot of expectation from foreign coaches and so they deserve respect,” he said.

Botswana recently appointed Briton Colwyn Rowe as national coach to succeed Serbian Veselin Jelusic with a three-year contract. Although details of his salary were not revealed, the Briton is rumoured to be paid less than R100 000 a month. Botswana Football Association president Phillip Makgalemele has kept Jelusic in his administration’s programmes redeploying him to the junior sides.

In Zambia two months ago, Kalusha Bwalya was receiving R60 000 a month while Namibia’s new coach Ben Bamfuchile is said to have signed a three-year contract with a salary of not more than R60 000 a month. Zambia is yet to announce a full-time coach since Kalusha’s departure.

Parreira will bring three Brazilian assistants who will each pocket R590 000 a month while current caretaker coach Pitso Mosimane and his assistant Khabo Zondo get R40 000 each a month.

South African football writer Meshack Motloung said Parreira’s monthly salary is equal to President Thabo Mbeki’s yearly salary.

“It is not often that an employee earns more than his employers, but in South African football it is the case,” he said.

Roger De Sa, a former Bafana Bafana player and goalkeeping coach, and the present coach of Santos, said his stomach turned when he heard about the salary.

“I was driving in a squatter camp near Cape Town Airport and could not believe what I was hearing about Parreira’s salary as I looked at the squalor all around me,” De Sa told the Southern Times.

“When I fully digested the information that a soccer coach would be earning something like R100 million in less than four years in our country, my stomach turned over and the R10 000 in my pocket seemed like a sick joke.”

Although the former Brazilian World Cup coach is rated among an elite group of a dozen or so top coaches in the world, and the salary he has negotiated with SAFA is in line with that paid to others of his ilk by First World countries and oil-rich nations in the Middle East, it is considered out of all proportion to the urgent needs of South Africa ‘ even with the far-reaching 2010 World Cup beckoning on the horizon.

Sven-Goran Eriksson, in fact, reportedly earned twice the amount Parreira will receive in South Africa before his position as coach of the England national team was summarily terminated and Jose Mourinho is now said to be in the same financial bracket as the Swede after leading Chelsea to successive Premiership titles.

“But the financial structures and needs of the ordinary people in Europe are totally different to those in South Africa,” said De Sa. “Let’s also be frank. Without the right structures, Parreira will not produce any miracles for Bafana at the World Cup. Give Fernando Alonso or Michael Schumacher an old jalopy to drive and they wouldn’t make any difference either.”

SAFA has unveiled a R250 million budget to create a respectable Bafana squad before the next World Cup despite its failure to feature in Germany 2006. South Africa has only received a US$10 million grant from Fifa to rebuild their squad for the 2010 World Cup.

“As a South African, I don’t think it makes sense,” e-mailed Zola Dunywa, SAFA development director.

Vusi “Computer” Lamola, the former Kaizer Chiefs midfield ace, said Parreira had failed to deliver with a highly-talented Brazilian side in the World Cup in Germany, and he did not see him making it with the local side.

“If I had influence I would have said he must not come and he shouldn’t even pack his bags because he is unacceptable down here,” said Lamola.

Meanwhile, SAPA reports that South Africa has begun to reap the benefits of hosting the 2010 World Cup with the announcement that the country is to get R77 million to fund an environmentally-friendly expansion of its public transport system for the global showpiece.

South African Transport Department deputy director-general Mathabatha Mokonyama says the government will look to encourage the use of public transport rather than private vehicles during the competition which is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors. Trains would be upgraded and spectators encouraged to cycle or walk to stadia, he added.

The South African government has already put aside over R3 billion of its own cash to improve its public transport system in time for 2010, said Mokonyama.

September 2006
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